NEW DELHI: A report in a UK newspaper claims that India is among the top five countries most extensively monitored by the NationalSecurity Agency (NSA), a US governmentagency tasked with foreign surveillance.
The Guardian reported on Sunday that in March this year, the NSA recorded 6.3 billion pieces of intelligence from computer networks in India, placing it fifth on the list of most extensively monitored countries. Iran topped the list with 14 billion pieces of intelligence collected from it.Pakistan was third with 13.5 billion, Jordan was third with 12.7 billion and Egypt was fourth with 7.6 billion.
"In March 2013 the agency collected 97 billion pieces of intelligence from worldwide," reported the newspaper.
It added, "NSA has developed a powerful tool for recording and analysing where its intelligence comes from... (the paper) has acquired about the NSA datamining tool, called Boundless Informant, that details and even maps by country the voluminous amount of information it collects from computer and ."
The report is latest in the series of revelations that detail the top-secret surveillance and data monitoring programs run by NSA.
Earlier, reports detailed how NSA was using a programme called PRISM to generated by users of nine US-based technology companies. According to a few PowerPoint slides allegedly leaked by an NSA official, nine technology companies - Google, AOL, Apple, Yahoo, Microsoft,Skype, Facebook, YouTube and PalTalk - were providing the US government easy access to user data.
All companies named in the reports have denied being part of anything called PRISM. On Friday Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Google CEO Larry Page categorically denied giving to user data to US sleuths.
But US president Barack Obama had tacitly acknowledged NSA surveillance programmes aimed at non-US citizens. "You can't have a hundred percent security and also then have a hundred percent privacy and zero inconvenience. You know, we're going to have to make some choices as a society," he told reporters in the US.
On its report on Boundless Informant, the UK newspaper noted that the focus was on meta data instead of actual content of emails or calls. "The focus of the internal NSA tool is on counting and categorizing the records of communications, known as metadata, rather than the content of an email or instant message," it noted.