NSA Hasn't Stopped Surveillance: 151 Million Phone Records Collected in 2016

May 04, 2017, 22:42
NSA Hasn't Stopped Surveillance: 151 Million Phone Records Collected in 2016

The document, published late on Tuesday, specified that the NSA collected through telecommunications services providers such phone calls data as originating and terminating telephone numbers, International Mobile Subscriber Identity numbers, telephone calling card numbers and calls duration.

Because the 151 million would include multiple calls made to or from the same phone numbers, the number of people whose records were collected also would be much smaller, the officials said. Because the NSA collects data on numbers that are "two hops" away from a targeted phone, records would be collected from any number that called or was called by the target number, and then every number each of those numbers interacted with.

Despite the USA Freedom Act of 2015, the NSA collected 151 million records of Americans' phone calls a year ago, even though it had obtained warrants from the FISA court to spy on only 42 people suspected of having ties to terrorism.

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A report issued by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) yesterday provides a sobering set of statistics on the breadth and depth of USA intelligence surveillance of targets both overseas and within the United States. The objective of the report was to measure the effects of the 2015 USA Freedom Act.

In the four years since National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden blew the lid off us surveillance overseas, the number of targets the U.S.is monitoring around the globe has steadily increased. A single call would be counted as two records because they were submitted separately by the two companies handling the call.

The National Security Agency (NSA) has announced it will stop a controversial surveillance program under which it collected internet communications between individuals not under investigation merely because they mentioned a foreign intelligence target. They said they had no breakdown of how many individuals' phone records were among those collected.

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Normally, when government officials receive intelligence reports, the names of American citizens are redacted to protect their privacy.

Most names in such intelligence reports are masked to protect privacy, but past year government officials requested that 1,934 identities - not initially revealed in the NSA reports - be unmasked in order to understand the intelligence being conveyed. "At the top of the list is how many Americans' communications are being swept up". The NSA said, "Instead, this surveillance will now be limited to only those communications that are directly "to" or "from" a foreign intelligence target". Dan Coats of IN called Section 702 the "crown jewels" of the intelligence establishment. The law, set to expire at the end of the year, allows federal agencies to collect information on Americans as long as the target of the collection is a foreigner who happens to be communicating with someone in the US.

The NSA is also planning to delete "the vast majority" of previously acquired "upstream" internet communications ASAP, it said.

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