NSA collecting Verizon call data says report

The US National Security Agency is collecting the call records of millions of Verizon’s customers, according to a report published by the Guardian Newspaper in the UK. The Guardian has published on its website what it claims is a copy of a top secret court order from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court requiring that Verizon hand over call data “on an ongoing daily basis.”

The order, which is scheduled for declassifcation in 2038, requires that Verizon: “Shall produce to the NSA upon service of this Order, and continue production on an ongoing daily basis thereafter for the duration of this Order, unless otherwise ordered by the Court, an electronic copy of the following tangible things: all call detail records of “telephony metadata” created by Verizon for communications (i) between the United States and abroad, or (ii) wholly within the United States, including local telephone calls.”

The order does not require Verizon to hand over details of calls that originate and terminate outside of the US.

While the content of the calls is not required, nor the “name, address or financial information of a subscriber or customer,” the NSA does receive telephone numbers, IMEI and IMSI numbers and the time and length of the call. It is also possible, the Guardian said, that location information is included.

The Center for Constitutional Rights in the US described the order as “the broadest surveillance order to have ever been issued,” adding that “it requires no level of suspicion and applies to all Verizon subscribers anywhere in the US.”

The report raises a number of questions, including whether or not other US operators are bound by similar orders and what level of information, if any, is being collected on called or calling parties outside of the US.

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