Report: NSA Collected Phone Records for Millions of Verizon Customers

The widespread data collection was part of anti-terrorism efforts.

The Guardian is reporting that the Obama administration has been secretly collecting phone records for millions of Americans who aren't suspected of doing anything wrong. Widespread outrage has accompanied the revelation.

The Guardian's Glenn Greenwald reported, "The National Security Agency is currently collecting the telephone records of millions of US customers of Verizon, one of America's largest telecoms providers, under a top secret court order issued in April. The order, a copy of which has been obtained by the Guardian, requires Verizon on an 'ongoing, daily basis' to give the NSA information on all telephone calls in its systems, both within the US and between the US and other countries. The document shows for the first time that under the Obama administration the communication records of millions of US citizens are being collected indiscriminately and in bulk – regardless of whether they are suspected of any wrongdoing."

CNN quoted Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), who said, "As far as I know, this is the exact three-month renewal of what has been the case for the past seven years. This renewal is carried out by the FISA court under the business records section of the Patriot Act. Therefore it is lawful. It has been briefed to Congress."

FOX News noted, "However, civil liberties groups and some lawmakers sounded the alarm over the collection effort. 'The National Security Agency's seizure and surveillance of virtually all of Verizon's phone customers is an astounding assault on the Constitution,' Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., said. One civil liberties group called this the broadest surveillance order to ever have been issued.'"

According to CNET's Lance Whitney, "The White House is defending the decision to collect the telephone records of U.S. citizens by labeling it an anti-terrorist measure."

Tags: smartphone, Verizon, cell phone, NSA, data collection

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