Washington: The rules that US` National Security Agency (NSA) follows for the alleged inadvertent `snooping` on its own citizens have reportedly been revealed.
According to ABC News, the documents revealed point to the ways NSA takes to avoid spying on citizens individually by following a protocol called `minimization` and what it does with the information later on.
The methods incorporated for the alleged `snooping` are stamped 2009 and signed by Attorney General Eric Holder.
According to the report, the ` minimization procedures` include checking the phone number or email address of the potential target against a database the agency keeps containing information on known American phone and electronic communication information.
The numbers are then tallied with the database and if they match then the person cannot be spied on in any circumstances, whereas if it indicates any `foreignness` then it is presumed to be a non-US person.
However, the documents suggest that if a person under surveillance is found to be in US then the NSA process of spying is immediately stopped.
The rules allow require NSA to not destroy the acquired communication records if there is a `reasonable belief` that they contain significant foreign intelligence information,` `evidence of a crime,` or are encrypted or pose a `threat of serious harm to life or property.`
The NSA`s snooping programme was made public by whistleblower Edward Snowden who blamed the US agencies for infringing on the privacy rights of its citizens on the pretext of national security.