Leaked top secret court order reveals NSA collecting phone records of millions of Verizon customers

verizon_iphone_black_600pxAccording to a top secret court order obtained by The Guardian, The National Security Agency has been collecting call records of millions of Verizon subscribers in the U.S. since April 25th.

The order, passed under the Obama administration, requires Verizon to handover records for all local as well as international calls to the NSA on an “ongoing, daily” basis till July 19th, for surveillance:

The document shows for the first time that under the Obama administration the communication records of millions of US citizens are being collected indiscriminately and in bulk – regardless of whether they are suspected of any wrongdoing.

Under the terms of the blanket order, the numbers of both parties on a call are handed over, as is location data, call duration, unique identifiers, and the time and duration of all calls. The contents of the conversation itself are not covered.

The report notes that since “metadata” and not actual conversation content is collected, there’s no need for a warrant to access this information. What’s concerning is that this metadata also includes location information, as inferred from cell-tower triangulation, which is a serious breach of privacy.

The government is justifying these surveillance measures by saying it helped them thwart domestic terror threats, but the key question is do the ends justify the means?

Verizon has refused to comment on the situation and so has the NSA. For all we know, the NSA has such arrangements in place with all major carriers in the U.S., and not just Verizon.

Here’s the court order.

Tell us what you think NSA’s spying efforts in the comments below.

Via: The Guardian