Snowden was claimed to have no access to the FISA data itself, and has not until now released any information on actual data. 9/10 instances of data handed over to the Washington Post was of innocent American citizens.
If a target entered an online chat room, the NSA collected the words and identities of every person who posted there, regardless of subject, as well as every person who simply “lurked,” reading passively what other people wrote.
“1 target, 38 others on there,” one analyst wrote. She collected data on them all.
In other cases, the NSA designated as its target the Internet protocol, or IP, address of a computer server used by hundreds of people.
Two conclusions I can draw here:
VPNs and Tor are basically completely being monitored. I guess this is no real surprise here, but this is just confirmation.
The three hops rule applies here I assume, so basically all 38 of those particular individuals were followed to their other chat rooms, everyone in those rooms were targeted as well since they were the final hop.
It sounds like at this point that any usage of IRC is going to get you targeted... that's terrifying. Lots of Linux discussions, official open source support channels, etc exist on the IRC world.
I can't believe that this story just constantly gets worse and worse. What happened to us?