7 May: Official figures released today show that the NSA used its powers to hack and disclose the identities of 16,721 US citizens and businesses to US intelligence agencies during 2018. Figures are only available for two previous periods: September 2015-August 2016: 9,215 and 2017: 9,529. So the figure for 2018 represents a massive 75% increase. Of course the figures for people and businesses elsewhere in the world will be far higher. They are not disclosed.
These information releases, known as “unmaskings” are legal. However in a country such as the USA where the rights of the individual are highly valued (it says here), this technique has been controversial. The fact that this sudden rise coincides with the arrival of the rather paranoid Trump administration is particularly worrying.