The leak of more than 1.5 million documents from the National Security Agency’s massive trove of internal documents to the website Wikileaks is now causing consternation among a group of activists who are concerned about its potential impact on their online privacy.
According to a post on Pastebin, an anonymous tester for the leaked NSA files posted a screenshot of the leaked document online.
The tester claims that the leak “caused a massive internet blackout” as a result of a government program called “Internet Assessments”.
The Pastebin post has since been deleted, but the text of the message is still visible.
The tester wrote: “The internet is a dangerous place.
We are being censored.
It is no longer safe to be online.
I feel this is a violation of my human rights.”
The leaked documents reveal how the NSA has operated since its creation in 1952, monitoring international communications and compiling them into a vast database of metadata.
They detail the operation of a secret programme codenamed “The Prism Project”, which involves the US government tapping into the fibre optic cables of the internet backbone of the United Kingdom and the European Union to access a vast array of internet metadata.
Wikileaks has published more than 2.5m documents from NSA documents, and the agency has claimed the leaks have caused the internet to be “blocked, censored, and degraded”.
The US government has repeatedly refused to say how many people have been affected by the leak, but said it has no evidence of widespread cyberattacks.
But some activists are concerned the leak may be linked to a larger trend in the US and abroad, where political dissent is increasingly targeted and shut down.
They believe the leak could be linked with the “collateral damage” of an earlier leak, which exposed widespread data collection and mass surveillance by US military and intelligence agencies, including the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency.
The leak comes after the Obama administration announced it would stop sharing classified information with the NSA, and was criticised for not doing enough to keep information out of the hands of the US military.
It also comes after Wikileaks published the first batch of the classified NSA documents leaked by former contractor Edward Snowden.
The leaked Snowden documents revealed the scope of the NSA’s surveillance of US citizens.
In a series of tweets, Snowden said the leaked documents were “just the tip of the iceberg” and said that “there is a lot more” to the Snowden leaks.