NSA-GCHQ Snowden leaks: A glossary of the key terms
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NSA-GCHQ Snowden leaks: A glossary of the key terms


From BBC

Below are some of the key terms referred to in the classified documents and the reports about them.

The list refers to documents alleged to have been sourced by Snowden from various intelligence agencies that have been printed by other news outlets. Where possible there are links to the original articles and the documents they refer to.


The name given to an open-source database created by the National Security Agency (NSA) but later made available to others via the Apache Foundation. It stores large amounts of structured and unstructured data across many computers and can use it to create near real-time reports.

One of its key features is that users with different levels of clearance are shown different amounts of information. So a high-level operator might be shown all the data available, while a lower-level one would be restricted to seeing only certain columns, and might never be aware that other topics existed.

It was modelled on Google's BigTable system.

Angry Birds

Leaked documents, published by ProPublica, indicate that the NSA and GCHQ routinely try to gain access to personal data from Angry Birds and other mobile applications.

The news site reports that the two agencies have worked together since 2007 to obtain the details from mobile phones and tablet apps that send private information about their users over the internet.

The documents indicate that app transmissions can include details of age, gender, location and even sexual preference. The papers use Android apps in most of the provided examples, but state that data can be gathered from equivalent apps on other platforms.

However, ProPublica adds that the specifics of the data haul are not clear.

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