One of our nation's largest phone carriers, Verizon, is sharing information on millions of customers with the NSA. According to the Guardian newspaper, a secret court order issued in April requires Verizon to hand over all call records on an “ongoing, daily basis.”
The document obtained by the Guardian shows that a secret FISA Court granted the FBI authority to collect three month of Verizon data, including telephone numbers, duration of calls, location data, and the times that calls were made. The court order did not grant the FBI authority to listen to conversations, and it's unclear as to whether text messages were also intercepted.
The court order applies to Verizon, and bars the company from informing customers about the information request. It's unclear whether any other phone carriers are handing over similar data, or whether this three-month request was part of an ongoing process, or a one-time event.
According to the Guardian, the document may explain two years of ominous warnings by U.S. Senators Ron Wyden and Mark Udall, who have warned about the government spying on Americans. Last year, those two senators sent a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder, writing, “there is now a significant gap between what most Americans think the law allows and what the government secretly claims the law allows.”
The sweeping request for information is reminiscent of the policies of President George W. Bush. It's also the first top-secret document to confirm that the Obama Administration is continuing to spy on Americans.
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