Gawker reports: Since at least April, the National Security Agency has been collecting the telephone records of every Verizon customer in the US. In total, the NSA has gathered data from millions of Verizon customers, including for phone calls placed within the US and for calls made from the US to other countries.
The Guardian’s Glenn Greenwald obtained a copy of the secret court order, which requires Verizon to deliver the information to the NSA on an “ongoing, daily basis.” As Greenwald writes, “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.”
The order was issued by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court on April 25, allowing the the government access to the information until July 19. Verizon may not have been the only cell-phone network ordered to give up such information; as Greenwald notes, past reporting indicates the NSA has collected information from all major cell-phone networks. It’s also unknown if the three-month order was part of longer, on-going data collecting operation or if it was a one-time order.
The information provided by Verizon to the NSA includes the numbers of both parties, the time and duration of the calls, and location data. The actual content of the phone calls was not covered by the order.