A new report reveals the why the National Security Agency voluntarily shut down it's web surveillance program back in November of 2011 - it actually found another way to collect data.
The massive surveillance program included collecting email data (as well as phone data from a sister program) domestically from US citizens across the country.
When Edward Snowden leaked classified documents in 2013 uncovering the secret surveillance programs, and the US government eventually conceded to the existence of the programs, the government explained that it shut down the program due to "operational and resource reasons."
But the government didn't stop collecting data.
Surveillance goes overseas
The New York Times reports that new disclosed documents, a report by the NSA's inspector general obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request, reveal that, amongst other schemes, the NSA has replaced its old program with a new system of gathering data overseas.
This new system allows the NSA to gather data legally in countries where the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act isn't regulated.
It also allows for data collection "under the FISA Amendments Act of 2008, which permits warrantless surveillance on domestic soil that targets specific noncitizens abroad, including their new or stored emails to or from Americans," according to the publication.
It essentially means the NSA is able to collect the same kind of data without running into any major legal issues as domestic data can be found overseas just because of the way the internet routes data through global fibre optics.