United States: National Security Agency collects telephone records of United States citizens.
According to the Britain’s Guardian newspaper, the United States’ National Security Agency is needing to collect telephone records of United States citizens.
The order was granted by the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court reportedly on Thursday, April 25th, 2013 and is good until Friday, July 19th, 2013 and requires Verizon Communications Inc. on an ongoing and daily basis to give the National Security Agency information on all telephone calls in its systems, both within the United States and between the United States and other countries.
According to the Britain’s Guardian newspaper, the document, a copy of which it had obtained, shows for the first time that under the United States President Barack Obama’s Administration that communication records of millions of United States citizens were being collected indiscriminately and in bulk regardless of whether they were suspected of any wrongdoing.
The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court’s court order that was reportedly signed by Judge Roger Vinson, compelled Verizon Communications Inc. to provide the National Security Agency with electronic copies of all call detail records or telephony metadata created by Verizon Communications Inc. for communications between the United States and abroad.
The court order didn’t specify which type of phone customers’ records were being tracked and under the terms of the order, the phone numbers of both parties on a call are handed over, as are location data, call duration, unique identifiers, and the time and duration of all calls. The contents of the conversation itself are not covered.
United States President Barack Obama’s Administration on Thursday defended the National Security Agency’s need to collect telephone records of United States citizens calling this practice, “a critical tool in protecting the nation from terrorist threats.”
United States Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein spoke to reporters at a Capitol Hill news conference on Thursday after the United States President Barack Obama’s Administration defended the National Security Agency’s need to collect the records.
“As far as I know, this is the exact three month renewal of what has been the case for the past seven years,” said United States Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein.
“The information goes into a database, but cannot be accessed without what’s called – and I quote – ‘reasonable, articulable suspicion that the records are relevant and related to terrorist activity’,” said United States Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein.
According to United States Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein, under the business records section of the Patriot Act, the renewal must be carried out by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court and is lawful. The program has been briefed to Congress and records do not contain the content of phone calls and other communications.
Verizon Communications Inc. Spokesman Ed McFadden said on Wednesday that the company has no comment and the National Security Agency also had no comment.
Other lawmakers have said previously that the practice is legal under the Patriot Act, although civil libertarians have complained about the United States snooping on United States citizens.
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