The National Security Agency used to be one of the most obscure, secretive intelligence organizations – until Edward Snowden released a treasure trove of its classified secrets. Rather than busting myths, those leaks have only proved to increase misconceptions about the U.S.’s global intelligence gathering agency. Here are a few.

First, the NSA can’t read your emails whenever it wants. That process is monitored by the court, senior analysts at the agency, and the Department of Justice.

Second, the NSA does not keep the information it gathers forever. If it monitors something, it only keeps that data for five years.

Finally, the NSA is probably not spying on you. The notion that the NSA is secretly recording all of your calls is another one born out of Snowden’s leaks – and simply not backed up by the numbers. Last year the NSA queried ten thousand American communications – which means when it comes to the possibility of your calls being recorded or scanned – the odds are, they’re not.

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Lindy Kyzer is the director of content at Have a conference, tip, or story idea to share? Email Interested in writing for Learn more here.. @LindyKyzer