NSA Ceases Collecting Phone Data in Bulk
The National Security Agency is no longer sucking in all the data generated by Americans' phone calls. The NSA was required to shut down its surveillance program by the end of the day Nov. 28. The program, first brought to light by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, allowed the agency to collect phone call metadata in bulk in the hope that law enforcement could draw connections between suspected criminals. Privacy advocates charged the program was invasive and overreaching, as it collected data from all Americans, rather than just those being targeted. The NSA has put a smaller replacement program in place that is defined by the Freedom Act, passed earlier this year. Moving forward, the NSA needs a court order to seek call records from telecommunications companies, and those requests need to be confined to specific people or groups. The data already collected by the NSA will be maintained until Feb. 29, 2016, after which it will be deleted.
AT&T Key Partner in NSA Spying
AT&T is being called a "highly collaborative" partner of the NSA, and showed the government agency an "extreme willingness to help" spy on Americans, suggests a new report published by the New York Times. The Times based its report on documents supplied by Edward Snowden, the former NSA contractor who first revealed the government's mass-scale spying efforts two years ago.
NSA's Phone-Data Gathering Called Illegal
A federal appeals court has ruled the NSA's covert phone-spying program is against the law. The program has been in place — unbeknowst to the public — since shortly after September 2001, authorized under Section 215 of the Patriot Act.
NSA Given Permission to Spy On Calls Again
The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court this week gave the NSA permission to resume spying on Americans' phone calls for a period of 180 days. In June, Congress passed the USA Freedom Act, which put an end to the bulk phone data collection.
House Passes Bill to Limit NSA Phone Data Collection
The House of Representatives today passed the USA Freedom Act, meant to prevent the NSA from collecting Americans' phone records, with a vote of 338 to 88. The NSA has been collecting Americans' phone records in bulk since late 2001 under the auspices of Section 215 of the Patriot Act.