NSA Said To Have Continued Collecting Phone Data

"The report, courtesy of Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), shows the true scope of NSA surveillance, even under the" limited" access arrangement.

Provisions in the act known as Section 702 empower the NSA to sweep the globe for intelligence. Trump has said President Barack Obama's former national security adviser may have committed a crime. Expanding on that the report suggests the actual total number of phone records collected from individual persons is quite a bit less, albeit without mentioning a set definitive number to correlate along with amount of people. The details were shared by an annual report from the Office of Director of National Intelligence. That way, records are collected from any number that called or was called by the target number, together with the every number each of those numbers interacted with. The real count of how many Americans phone records were collected minus the duplication issue is reportedly smaller, but the report doesn't provide that number. If the target calls that same number again, each call counts as an additional record.

The report comes as Congress grapples with the decision of whether to reauthorize FISA Section 702: the one that allows for surveillance of foreign, non-US targets without a warrant. They said they had no breakdown of how many individuals' phone records were among those collected. It didn't give details of who requested the names, or details about the investigations.

Privacy groups have called FISA unconstitutional: it's a statute that "violates the Fourth Amendment because it permits the government to conduct large-scale warrantless surveillance of Americans' worldwide communications - communications in which Americans have a reasonable expectation of privacy", the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) says.


The Office of the National Director said in the report that the names of 1,934 USA people were unmasked a year ago in response to specific requests, down from the 2,232 people unmasked in 2015. Dan Coats of IN called Section 702 the "crown jewels" of the intelligence establishment. The legislation decreed that NSA should no longer automatically see metadata like phone numbers and the length of calls, and carriers like Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint should hold on to that data, releasing it to the NSA only when the agency receives permission from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance court, given on case-by-case basis.

In addition to changes in its collection practices, the NSA also announced that it will delete the vast majority of previously acquired upstream internet communications as soon as practicable.

"The same technologies that are being used to connect us, to tie us together, to let you listen to this right now, are also being used to make records about your activity", Edward Snowden said during an interview with Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey.

  • Tracy Klein