The Guardian has put together this intensive explanation of everything the NSA revelations mean for average Joe Internet User, with videos, interviews and interactive diagrams. Above, an example of how many people would get examined by the NSA based on Facebook contacts if you were under observation.
Cell phones, laptops, Facebook, Skype, chat-rooms: all allow the NSA to build what it calls a pattern of life, a detailed profile of a target and anyone associated with them.
And the number of people caught up in this dragnet can be huge.
You don't need to be talking to a terror suspect to have your communications data analysed by the NSA. The agency is allowed to travel "three hops" from its targets who could be people who talk to people who talk to people who talk to you. Facebook, where the typical user has 190 friends, shows how three degrees of separation gets you to a network bigger than the population of Colorado. How many people are three "hops" from you?
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