The NSA Is Still Data Mining Your Telephone Calls

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I confess that I’m a little puzzled by this Glenn Greenwald story in the Guardian:

The National Security Agency is currently collecting the telephone records of millions of US customers of Verizon, one of America’s largest telecoms providers, under a top secret court order issued in April….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 NSA, as part of a program secretly authorized by President Bush on 4 October 2001, implemented a bulk collection program of domestic telephone, internet and email records….Until now, there has been no indication that the Obama administration implemented a similar program.

Obviously I’m missing something. After Democrats caved on the surveillance bill in 2008, I simply assumed that this kind of massive data mining of telephone metadata was going to continue forever and everyone knew it. But Glenn suggests that, in fact, this is something surprising. So I guess I assumed wrong.

I’m going to mull this over for a while to figure out where I went wrong. In the meantime, go read the full story.

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America will move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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