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Following a new Washington Post story revealing the National Security Agency’s secret tapping of Google Inc. and Yahoo! Inc. data center links, Chris Kelly, the former chief privacy officer and head of global public policy for Facebook Inc., said Wednesday that the reported scale of government monitoring surprises him.

The Post report, which is based off of documents from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden and interviews with “knowledgeable officials,” says the spy agency has the ability to gather data from hundreds of millions of Google and Yahoo accounts, including those of Americans, without a court order. The newspaper and The Guardian in Britain previously reported on a separate secret NSA program known as PRISM, which was designed to give the agency front-door access to Google and Yahoo accounts with the approval of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.

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