ICREACH: The NSA’s Secret Search Engine: Déjà vu Censored 2016

Censored 2016 argued that the story “ICREACH: The NSA’s Secret Search Engine” was ignored by the corporate press. The story was originally published in August 2014 by Ryan Gallagher...
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photo credit to Marcie Casas via flickr

Censored 2016 argued that the story “ICREACH: The NSA’s Secret Search Engine” was ignored by the corporate press. The story was originally published in August 2014 by Ryan Gallagher of the Intercept, and Jack Crone of the Daily Mail (UK). The story focused on how the US Government’s National Security Administration (NSA) built a search engine, ICREACH, that enables them to sift through the data they have collected on citizens in the US and abroad. Since April of 2015, the corporate press has provided misleading coverage of “ICREACH: The NSA’s Secret Search Engine.” However, the independent press has covered the story.

Censored 2016 argued that “ICREACH: The NSA’s Secret Search Engine” was ignored by the corporate press. The story was based on documents leaked by famed whistleblower, Edward Snowden. The documents provide details on the construction and usage of a NSA communication search engine called ICREACH. ICREACH allows the federal government to sift through the abundance of citizen data. It relies on more than 30 different kinds of metadata on any platform of communication such as phone calls, texts, and emails to track information on any U.S. citizen. This prevents significant danger to citizens’ civil liberties which are maintained in part by people’s right to privacy.

Since April of 2015, the corporate news coverage of “ICREACH: The NSA’s Secret Search Engine” has been misleading. In 2016, the corporate media has provided peripheral coverage of domestic government spying in its analysis of a public debate concerning whether or not the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) can force a company, in this case the tech-giant Apple, to unlock one of its users handheld devices. However, the corporate news coverage is misleading because it ignores the National Security Administration (NSA) already has agreements with digital technology companies to unlock user devices. Furthermore, it lacks any mention of how the data is then entered into the ICREACH search engine. Local corporate media outlets such as The San Jose Mercury News have noted that it is not clear whether or not the information collected on individuals can be used against them in court. If it indeed can be used in court, a person’s whole data history can potentially sit in government’s hands until it is convenient to use against them.

Since April of 2015, the independent news coverage of “ICREACH: The NSA’s Secret Search Engine” has been scant. Independent news outlets such as Global Research and Open Democracy have continued to report on the development of ICREACH. Other news outlets such as Boing, Boing have reported on how inventors are developing ways to circumvent ICREACH. Meanwhile, MotherBoard has reported that companies have been inspired by ICREACH and emulated it as part of their hiring practices.

Censored 2016 argued that “ICREACH: The NSA’s Secret Search Engine” was ignored by the corporate press. The story focus on how the US Government’s National Security Administration (NSA) had built a search engine to sift through the data they collected on citizens in the US and abroad. Since April of 2015, the corporate news coverage of “ICREACH: The NSA’s Secret Search Engine” has been misleading, but the independent media has covered the story.

Student Researcher: Pamela Switzer

Faculty Evaluator: Nolan Higdon

California State University, Maritime Academy

Student Editor: Justin Lascano (Diablo Valley College)

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Déjà vu

Academic professionals and student writers

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