The NSA has a “Google-like” search engine called ICREACH for domestic and international agencies to access information of phone calls, texts and instant messages sent by millions of people, according to classified NSA documents obtained and reported by The Intercept (Source of featured picture above: The Intercept).
According to the report:
ICREACH does not appear to have a direct relationship to the large NSA database, previously reported by The Guardian, that stores information on millions of ordinary Americans’ phone calls under Section 215 of the Patriot Act. Unlike the 215 database, which is accessible to a small number of NSA employees and can be searched only in terrorism-related investigations, ICREACH grants access to a vast pool of data that can be mined by analysts from across the intelligence community for “foreign intelligence”—a vague term that is far broader than counterterrorism.
Glenn Greenwald, a founding editor of The Intercept, has previously mentioned ICREACH in his recent book No Place to Hide which highlighted some of the metadata types that were accessible through ICREACH.
This surveillance search engine, launched in 2007 with already 850 billion pieces of metadata then, allows more than 20 US agencies to quickly sift through the communications metadata of both foreigners and citizens on US soil.
Just how much is 850 billion pieces of metadata (and goodness how many trillions by now?)? See the chart above (Source: The Intercept).