Click slide above for the next showing the US's internet traffic-flow opportunity...
is "the SIGAD [Sigint Activity Designator] used most in NSA reporting" [US National Security Agency]. The PRISM collection program is also designated US-984XN, and run by the NSA’s "special source operations" office, whose logo sports a globe ensnared and held in the talons of the US eagle.
addition, in operation 'Upstream' a specially equipped American nuclear submarine, the USS Jimmy Carter, carries cutting, cable tapping and interception systems to lay on the sea bed. The submarine has been in active service since 2005. See illustration below.
in 2011 Microsoft acquired Skype for $7bn, the U.S. government also acquired a back way in to the previously secure, complex and highly trusted peer-to-peer voice over IP system as part of their PRISM system.
Government Communications Head Quarters (GCHQ) is also reported by the UK Guardian newspaper to have been monitoring all data transmission through fibreoptic cables in and out of the UK as from 2011 in an operation nicnamed 'Tempora', similar to the US's Upstream.
"Interceptors have been placed on around 200 fibre optic cables where they come ashore. This appears to have been done with the secret cooperation, voluntary or forced, of the companies that operate the cables, potentially giving GCHQ access to 10 gigabits of data a second, or 21 petabytes a day. ...According to the documents, GCHQ's surveillance gives it the "biggest internet access" out of the "five eyes", which consist of spy agencies in –
Australia, New Zealand, the UK, Canada and the US."
many years these same five have carefully monitored all communication via satellite relay transmission for agency–listed keywords whereupon a copy of any communication of interest is then forwarded to the surveillance agency concerned.