List of government mass surveillance projects

List of government mass surveillance projects
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

This is a list of government surveillance projects and related databases throughout the world.


1 International
1.1 European Union
2 National
2.1 Australia
2.2 China
2.3 France
2.4 Germany
2.5 India
2.6 Russia
2.7 Sweden
2.8 Switzerland
2.9 United Kingdom
2.10 United States
3 Unclear origin
4 Recently discontinued
5 See also
6 References


Snapshot of Boundless Informant’s global map of data collection

ECHELON: A signals intelligence (SIGINT) collection and analysis network operated on behalf of the five signatory states to the UKUSA Security Agreement.

European Union

Data Retention Directive: A directive requiring EU member states to store citizens’ telecommunications data for six to 24 months and allowing police and security agencies to request access from a court to details such as IP address and time of use of every email, phone call, and text message sent or received.

INDECT: Research project funded by the European Union to develop surveillance methods (e.g. processing of CCTV camera data streams) for the monitoring of abnormal behaviours in an urban environment.[1]

Schengen Information System: A database kept for national security and law enforcement purposes.



Main article: Mass surveillance in Australia

In August 2014 it was reported[2] that law-enforcement agencies had been accessing Australians’ web browsing histories via internet providers such as Telstra without a warrant.

It was reported[3] that Australia had issued 75% more wiretap warrants in 2003 than the US did and this was 26 times greater than the US on a per capita basis.


Main article: Mass surveillance in China

Golden Shield Project: Also known as the “Great Firewall of China”, it is a censorship and surveillance project operated by the Ministry of Public Security (MPS) division of the government of the People’s Republic of China. The project was initiated in 1998 and began operations in November 2003.[4]
Monitoring Bureau[4]

Public Information Network Security[4]

DGSE base near Domme in southwestern France

Frenchelon: A data collection and analysis network operated by the French Directorate-General for External Security.[5]


Nachrichtendienstliches Informationssystem: a searchable database operated by the German security agency Bundesamt für Verfassungsschutz (BfV).[6]
Project 6: a global surveillance project jointly operated by the German intelligence agencies Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND) and Bundesamt für Verfassungsschutz (BfV) in close cooperation with the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).[7]

Further information: Mass surveillance in India
Central Monitoring System (CMS): A data collection system similar to the NSA’s PRISM program.[8] It enables the Government of India to listen to phone conversations, intercept e-mails and text messages, monitor posts on social networking service and track searches on Google.[9]
DRDO NETRA: Network that is capable of tracking online communications on a real time basis by harvesting data from various voice-over-IP services, including Skype and Google Talk. It is operated by the Research and Analysis Wing.
NATGRID: An intelligence grid that links the databases of several departments and ministries of the Government of India.


SORM: A technical system used by the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation to monitor internet and telephone communication.
Yarovaya Law is an anti-terrorist legislation that includes requirement to store all voice and text messaging data, as well as providing cryptographic backdoors for security services.


Titan traffic database: A database established by the Swedish National Defence Radio Establishment (Swedish: Försvarets radioanstalt, FRA) where call detail records (CDRs) of telephony and internet traffic and transaction data (IPDRs) concerning international telecommunications are stored.[citation needed]
X-Keyscore: A system used by the United States National Security Agency for searching and analysing internet data about foreign nationals. FRA has been granted access to the program.[10]


Onyx: A data gathering system maintained by several Swiss intelligence agencies to monitor military and civilian communications, such as e-mails, telefax and telephone calls. In 2001, Onyx received its second nomination for the ironically-named “Big Brother Award”.[11]

United Kingdom

Further information: Mass surveillance in the United Kingdom
Impact Nominal Index: The Impact Nominal Index or INI is a computer system that enables the UK police force to establish whether other relevant authorities are holding information regarding a person of interest.[12]
Interception Modernisation Programme: An initiative to extend the UK government’s capability to lawfully intercept and store communications data in a central database.[13]
Mastering the Internet (MTI): A clandestine mass surveillance program led by the British intelligence agency GCHQ. Data gathered by the GCHQ include the contents of email messages, entries on the social networking platform Facebook and the web browsing history of internet users.[14]
UK National DNA Database (NDNAD): It is also the oldest national DNA database in the world.[15] Since its establishment in 1995, the database has grown to include DNA samples from 2.7 million individuals, or 5.2% of the UK’s population, many of whom have neither been charged with, or convicted of, any offence.[15]

Tempora: Launched in the autumn of 2011, this initiative allows the GCHQ to set up a large-scale buffer that is capable of storing internet content for 3 days and metadata for 30 days.[16]

Royal Concierge: prototyped in 2010, sends daily alerts to GCHQ whenever a booking is made from a “.gov.” second-level domain at select hotels worldwide.[17]

United States

Seal of the U.S. National Security Agency.svg
National Security Agency surveillance
Boundless Informant data collection.svg
Map of global NSA data collection


Since 1978
Upstream collection BLARNEY FAIRVIEW Main Core ThinThread Genoa

Since 2001
OAKSTAR STORMBREW Trailblazer Turbulence Genoa II Total Information Awareness President’s Surveillance Program Terrorist Surveillance Program

Since 2007
PRISM Dropmire Stateroom Bullrun MYSTIC MonsterMind (alleged)
Databases, tools etc.

GCHQ collaboration

Further information: Mass surveillance in the United States

A top secret document leaked by Edward Snowden to The Guardian in 2013, originally due to be declassified on 12 April 2038.

Boundless Informant: A system deployed by the National Security Agency to analyze global electronic information. In March 2013, Boundless Informant gathered 14 billion data reports from Iran, 6.3 billion from India, and 2.8 billion from the United States.[18]

BULLRUN: a highly classified U.S. National Security Agency program to preserve its ability to eavesdrop on encrypted communications by influencing and weakening encryption standards, by obtaining master encryption keys, and by gaining access to data before or after it is encrypted either by agreement, by force of law, or by computer network exploitation (hacking).

Carnivore: A system implemented by the Federal Bureau of Investigation that was designed to monitor email and electronic communications. Apparently replaced by commercial software such as NarusInsight.
Comprehensive National Cybersecurity Initiative

DCSNet: The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)’s point-and-click surveillance system that can perform instant wiretaps on any telecommunications device located in the United States.[19]

Fairview: A mass surveillance program directed at foreign mobile phone users.
Financial Crimes Enforcement Network: A bureau of the Department of the Treasury that collects and analyzes financial transactions in order to combat financial crimes.

ICREACH: Surveillance frontend GUI that is shared with 23 government agencies, including the CIA, DEA, and FBI, to search illegally collected personal records.

Magic Lantern: A keystroke logging software deployed by the FBI in the form of an e-mail attachment. When activated, it acts as a trojan horse and allows the FBI to decrypt user communications.[20]

Main Core: A personal and financial database storing information of millions of U.S. citizens believed to be threats to national security.[21] The data mostly comes from the NSA, FBI, CIA, as well as other government sources.[21]

MAINWAY: NSA database containing metadata for hundreds of billions of telephone calls made through the four largest telephone carriers in the United States.
Media monitoring services, A proposed DHS database for monitoring all global news sources and media influencers.

MUSCULAR: Overseas wiretapping of Google’s and Yahoo’s unencrypted internal networks by the NSA.

MYSTIC is a voice interception program used by the National Security Agency.

Nationwide Suspicious Activity Reporting Initiative: Under this government initiative, a Suspicious Activity Report (SAR) may be filed by law enforcers, public safety personnel, owners of critical infrastructure or the general public.

NSA ANT catalog: a 50-page document listing technology available to the United States National Security Agency (NSA) ANT division to aid in cyber-surveillance.

PRISM: A clandestine national security electronic surveillance program operated by the United States National Security Agency (NSA) which can target customers of participating corporations outside or inside the United States.
Room 641A: A telecommunication interception facility operated by AT&T for the U.S. National Security Agency.
Sentry Eagle: efforts to monitor and attack an adversary’s cyberspace through capabilities include SIGINT, Computer Network Exploitation (CNE), Information Assurance, Computer Network Defense (CND), Network Warfare, and Computer Network Attack (CNA). The efforts included weakening US commercial encryption systems.[22]

Special Collection Service (SCS): A black budget program that is responsible for “close surveillance, burglary, wiretapping, breaking and entering.” It employs covert listening device technologies to bug foreign embassies, communications centers, computer facilities, fiber-optic networks, and government installations.[23]

Stellar Wind (code name): The open secret code name for four surveillance programs.

Tailored Access Operations: Intelligence-gathering unit of the NSA that is capable of harvesting approximately 2 petabytes of data per hour.[24][25]

Terrorist Finance Tracking Program: A joint initiative run by the CIA and the Department of the Treasury to access the SWIFT (Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication) transaction database as part of the Bush administration’s “Global War on Terrorism”. According to the U.S. government, its efforts to counter terrorist activities were compromised after the existence of the Terrorist Finance Tracking Program was leaked to the media.[26]

Turbulence (NSA): Turbulence is a United States National Security Agency (NSA) information-technology project started circa 2005. It was developed in small, inexpensive “test” pieces rather than one grand plan like its failed predecessor, the Trailblazer Project. It also includes offensive cyberwarfare capabilities, like injecting malware into remote computers. The U.S. Congress criticized the project in 2007 for having similar bureaucratic problems as the Trailblazer Project.[27]

US Intelligence Community (IC): A cooperative federation of 16 government agencies working together, but also separately, to gather intelligence and conduct espionage.

Utah Data Center: The Intelligence Community’s US$1.5 billion data storage center that is designed to store extremely large amounts of data, on the scale of yottabytes.[28][29][30]

X-Keyscore: A system used by the United States National Security Agency for searching and analysing internet data about foreign nationals.
Unclear origin

GhostNet: A fictitious code name given to a large-scale surveillance project that is believed to be operated by the People’s Republic of China.[31]
Stuxnet: It is the first discovered malware that spies on industrial systems, and it was used to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities.[32] It is believed to have originated from the United States under the Bush administration.[33]

Recently discontinued

Information Awareness Office: An office established to bring together several DARPA projects focused on applying surveillance and information technology to track and monitor terrorists and other threats to U.S. national security.
Multistate Anti-Terrorism Information Exchange (MATRIX): A data mining system originally developed for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

Terrorist Surveillance Program: Replaced by PRISM.

ThinThread: A U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) program that involved wiretapping and sophisticated analysis of the resulting data.

Trailblazer Project: U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) program intended to develop a capability to analyze data carried on communications networks including cell phone networks and the Internet.

See also
Intelligence portal
mass surveillance portal
Lists portal

2013 Public disclosures of surveillance and espionage activities

Electronic police state

List of public disclosures of classified information

NSA warrantless surveillance (2001–07)

Politico-media complex


Welcome to INDECT homepage — indect-home. [1] Retrieved 16 June 2013.
Ben Grubb (20 August 2014). “Telstra found divulging web browsing histories to law-enforcement agencies without a warrant”. Sydney Morning Herald.
“Wiretapping Australia”. 2003.
“How China’s Internet Police Control Speech on the Internet”. Radio Free Asia. Retrieved 11 June 2013. China’s police authorities spent the three years between 2003 and 2006 completing the massive “Golden Shield Project.” Not only did over 50 percent of China’s policing agencies get on the Internet, there is also an agency called the Public Information Network Security and Monitoring Bureau, which boasts a huge number of technologically advanced and well-equipped network police. These are all the direct products of the Golden Shield Project.
“La France se met à l’espionnage” (in French). Free (ISP). Retrieved 11 June 2013. Frenchelon (ou French Echelon) est le surnom donné au réseau d’écoute de la DGSE. Le véritable nom de ce système d’écoute n’est pas connu (contrairement à ce que nous expliquions, ce n’est pas Emeraude)
“Datenschutzbeauftragte warnen vor Volltextsuche bei Verfassungsschutz und Polizei” (in German). Heise Online. Retrieved 20 December 2013.
Matthias Gebauer; Hubert Gude; Veit Medick; Jörg Schindler; Fidelius Schmid. “CIA Worked With BND and BfV In Neuss on Secret Project”. Der Spiegel. Retrieved 20 December 2013.
“India’s centralised monitoring system comes under scanner, reckless and irresponsible usage is chilling”. Daily News and Analysis. Retrieved 12 June 2013.
“India sets up elaborate system to tap phone calls, e-mail”. Reuters. 20 June 2013. Retrieved 28 June 2013. The new system will allow the government to listen to and tape phone conversations, read e-mails and text messages, monitor posts on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn and track searches on Google of selected targets, according to interviews with two other officials involved in setting up the new surveillance programme, human rights activists and cyber experts.
Nyheter, SVT. “FRA har tillgång till kontroversiellt övervakningssystem”.
“Big Brother Awards Schweiz: Onyx zum zweiten” (in German). Retrieved 28 June 2013.
“THE IMPACT NOMINAL INDEX (INI)”. Warwickshire Police. Archived from the original on 8 July 2013. Retrieved 24 June 2013.
Williams, Christopher (7 October 2008). “Spy chiefs plot £12bn IT spree for comms überdatabase”. The Register.
MacAskill, Ewen; Borger, Julian; Hopkins, Nick (21 June 2013). “GCHQ taps fibre-optic cables for secret access to world’s communications”. London: The Guardian. Retrieved 21 June 2013. This includes recordings of phone calls, the content of email messages, entries on Facebook and the history of any internet user’s access to websites – all of which is deemed legal, even though the warrant system was supposed to limit interception to a specified range of targets.
Wallace, Helen. “The UK National DNA Database: Balancing crime detection, human rights and privacy”. Science and Society. PMC 1490298 Freely accessible.
MacAskill, Ewen; Borger, Julian; Hopkins, Nick (21 June 2013). “GCHQ taps fibre-optic cables for secret access to world’s communications”. London: The Guardian. Retrieved 21 June 2013.
Poitras, Laura; Marcel Rosenbach; Holger Stark (2013-11-17). “‘Royal Concierge’: GCHQ Monitors Hotel Reservations to Track Diplomats”. Spiegel. Retrieved 17 November 2013.
“Meet ‘Boundless Informant,’ the NSA’s Secret Tool for Tracking Global Surveillance Data”. The Atlantic. Retrieved 13 June 2013. The country where the largest amount of intelligence was gathered was, unsurprisingly, Iran: Boundless Informant shows more than 14 billion reports in that period. The second-largest collection came from Pakistan, with 13.5 billion reports. Jordan — which is, yes, one of America’s closest Arab allies — had 12.7 billion reports. Egypt came in fourth (7.6 billion reports), and India in fifth with 6.3 billion. And when it comes to the U.S.? “The Boundless Informant documents show the agency collecting almost 3 billion pieces of intelligence from US computer networks over a 30-day period ending in March 2013.”
Point, Click … Eavesdrop: How the FBI Wiretap Net Operates.
“FBI Has a Magic Lantern”. Retrieved 23 February 2009.
Shorrock, Tim (23 July 2008). “Exposing Bush’s historic abuse of power”. Retrieved 19 December 2010.
Maass, Poitras. “Core Secrets: NSA Saboteurs in China and Germany”. The Intercept. Retrieved 11 October 2014.
Lichtblau, Eric (28 February 2001). “Spy Suspect May Have Revealed U.S. Bugging; Espionage: Hanssen left signs that he told Russia where top-secret overseas eavesdropping devices are placed, officials say”. Los Angeles Times. p. A1. Archived from the original on 17 April 2001.
Riley, Michael (23 May 2013). “How the U.S. Government Hacks the World”. Bloomberg Businessweek. Retrieved 23 May 2013.
Aid, Matthew M. (8 June 2010). The Secret Sentry: The Untold History of the National Security Agency. Bloomsbury USA. p. 311. ISBN 978-1-60819-096-6. Retrieved 22 May 2013.
Blustein, Paul, Gellman, Barton, and Linzer, Dafna. “Bank Records Secretly Tapped”, Washington Post, 23 June 2006. Accessed 23 June 2006.
Thomas Drake on The Real News “[2]”, The Real News, 3 August 2015. Accessed 19 August 2015.
Trenholm, Rich. “NSA to Store Yottabytes in Utah Data Centre”. CNET. Retrieved 13 June 2013.
Bamford, James (15 March 2012). “The NSA Is Building the Country’s Biggest Spy Center (Watch What You Say)”. Wired. Retrieved 5 April 2012.
Kenyon, Henry (7 January 2011). “New NSA data center breaks ground on construction — Defense Systems”. Defense Systems. Retrieved 11 August 2011.
Markoff, John (28 March 2009). “Vast Spy System Loots Computers in 103 Countries”. The New York Times. Retrieved 29 March 2009.
Robert McMillan (16 September 2010). “Siemens: Stuxnet worm hit industrial systems”. Computerworld. Archived from the original on 25 May 2012. Retrieved 16 September 2010.
Nakashima, Ellen; Warrick, Joby (3 June 2012). “Stuxnet was work of U.S. and Israeli experts, officials say”. The Washington Post. Retrieved 11 June 2013. The officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity to describe the classified effort code-named Olympic Games, said it was first developed during the George W. Bush administration and was geared toward damaging Iran’s nuclear capability gradually while sowing confusion among Ira

One Reply to “List of government mass surveillance projects”

  1. If I may, I’d like to add to the list, seemingly never-ending atrocities:

    Military, Deep State and the American innocence – Nation of Change
    Mass surveillance
    In the land of the free, Americans don’t mind NSA spying on them. While many assume that it’s to protect us from terrorists, Edward Snowden revealed that the mass collection of phone calls has been going on since 1985. If the spooks have dirt on every single American, it’s no wonder that no politician speaks out against the Orwellian nightmare. []

Comments are closed.