During the summer of 2013, leaks by Edward Snowden revealed to the world the extent of domestic and foreign surveillance by the United States National Security Agency (NSA). These revelations included the PRISM program, XKeyscore, and collaborations with phone companies to sweep up phone records. But one document, at the time, received comparably less press: the NSA product catalog offensively named the ANT catalog.
The Advanced Network Technology (ANT) catalog, published by Der Spiegel three years ago today in 2013, is a one-stop shop for various spyware and other gadgets. The leaked documents revealed several technologies that allow the NSA to penetrate nearly any – if not all – digital firewalls. Unlike the conspicuous, universally known ants after which it is named, the ANT catalog was shrouded in secrecy, unknown by the vast majority of Americans prior to the Snowden leaks.
That which the NSA calls the ANT catalog by any other name would smell as creepy. But it is still a real shame that the now widely-distrusted organization chose to name one of its most insidious documents after one of Earth’s noblest creatures. We at The Daily Ant reject the label and hope that the NSA has since renamed this document, perhaps after some random vertebrate.