Post-Snowden, America’s Global Surveillance Surges

US Continues to Come Up With New Targets to Spy On

If you use the Internet or have made a phone call in the last decade, your information has almost certainly been swept up in the NSA’s global surveillance scheme. Still, in the four years since whistleblower Edward Snowden unveiled the horrifying scope of the programs, reports suggest the programs are continuing to grow at an alarming pace.

It’s always difficult to say exactly how big the US surveillance is, because they don’t exactly tell us. Still, details on the number of “targets” is a valuable indicator, as these targets serve as the pretext for the mass data collection sweeping in everybody else.

And those “targets” are on the rise, from 89,138 people back during the Snowden leaks to 106,469 today. And while the figures went up a few thousand a year for the first few years, they are once again surging under President Trump, as they find an ever growing number of people they want to spy on.

While some analysts tried to downplay this as just the addition of “new threats” over the past few years, the trend is still concerning, particularly since every new threat seems to be a permanent one these days, and no “old” threats are ever resolved in any meaningful way.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.