Saturday, November 28, 2015

NSA’s bulk collection of Americans’ phone records ends Sunday

By Ellen Nakashima November 27 at 10:52 PM, WashPost

The National Security Agency on Sunday will end its mass collection of data about Americans’ phone calls under the Patriot Act, 2 1/2 years after a leak by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden forced the government to confirm its existence.

The halt was ordered by Congress, which in June passed the USA Freedom Act to ban the controversial collection of information known as metadata. That data includes the dates and durations of phone calls and logs of call times, but not content.

Under the new law, the NSA must obtain a court order to receive records about phone numbers suspected of belonging to terrorist suspects.

The program began in secret 14 years ago under the authority of President George W. Bush, and for years, the government kept it mostly secret. But in the summer of 2013, it was forced to acknowledge the program after Snowden’s leak of a court order showing that the agency was gathering from a Verizon phone company “all call detail records” of its customers on a daily basis.

The revelation touched off a contentious two-year debate about the proper scope of government surveillance and several lawsuits challenging the program

(More here.)

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