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The Boston Globe

Nation

NSA tracks data of Americans’ social connections

WASHINGTON — Since 2010, the National Security Agency has been exploiting its huge collections of data to create sophisticated graphs of some Americans’ social connections that can identify their associates, their locations at certain times, their traveling companions and other personal information, according to newly disclosed documents and interviews with officials.

The spy agency began allowing the analysis of phone call and email logs in November 2010 to examine Americans’ networks of associations for foreign intelligence purposes after NSA officials lifted previous restrictions on the practice, according to documents provided by Edward J. Snowden, the former NSA contractor.

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