London, Jun 10: India has emerged as the fifth most tracked country by the US intelligence which used a secret data-mining programme to monitor worldwide internet data.
Britain's Guardian newspaper claims to have acquired top secret documents about US' National Security Agency's (NSA) data-mining tool, called Boundless Informant.
The tool details and even maps by country the voluminous amount of information it collects from computer and telephone networks.
A snapshot of the Boundless Informant data, contained in a top secret NSA “global heat map”, shows that in March 2013 the agency collected 97 billion pieces of intelligence from computer networks worldwide, the daily reported.
It showed that Iran was the country where the largest amount of intelligence was gathered, with more than 14 billion reports in that period, followed by 13.5 billion from Pakistan.
Jordan, one of America's closest Arab allies, came third with 12.7 billion, Egypt fourth with 7.6 billion and India fifth with 6.3billion.
“The tool allows users to select a country on a map and view the metadata volume and select details about the collections against that country,” an NSA factsheet about the Boundless Informant program reads.
The heat map gives each nation a colour code based on how extensively it is subjected to NSA surveillance. The colour scheme ranges from green (least subjected to surveillance) through yellow and orange to red (most surveillance).
The disclosure of the internal Boundless Informant system comes amid a struggle between the NSA and its overseers in the American Senate over whether it can track the intelligence it collects on American communications.
The NSA's position is that it is not technologically feasible to do so.
The revelations form part of a global whistle-blowing operation that has claimed that innocent citizens around the world, including the UK, may have been subjected to unauthorised internet monitoring via the NSA.
A 29-year-old former technical assistant for the CIA, Edward Snowden, was revealed as the whistleblower behind one of the most significant leaks in US political history.
The ‘Guardian', after several days of interviews, revealed his identity at his own request.
From the moment he decided to disclose numerous top-secret documents to the public, he was determined not to opt for the protection of anonymity.
“I have no intention of hiding who I am because I know I have done nothing wrong,” he said.