The National Security Agency is believed to have accessed user data from many tech companies. mjb On the same day that President Barack Obama spoke to the press about possible surveillance reforms—and released a related white paper on the subject—the National Security Agency (NSA) came out with its own rare, publicly released, seven-page document (PDF), essentially justifying its own practices.

The entire document is dated August 9, 2013 and has no attributable names or contact details in it.

Its most striking portion? A separate block of text on page six, which states: According to figures published by a major tech provider, the Internet carries 1,826 Petabytes of information per day. In its foreign intelligence mission, NSA touches about 1.6% of that. However, of the 1.6% of the data, only 0.025% is actually selected for review.

The net effect is that NSA analysts look at 0.00004% of the world’s traffic in conducting their mission—that’s less than one part in a million. Put another way, if a standard basketball court represented the global collection, it would be an area smaller than a dime on that basketball court.

And, nearly directly below that section, the NSA presents its strongest categorical denial of using foreign partners to circumvent American law:     

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