By Alexandra Burlacu | Jun 07, 2013 10:46 AM EDT
The National Security Agency (NSA) has forced Verizon to hand over call data for millions of customers and it's collecting the data, as we speak.
This means that millions of U.S. citizens are robbed of their privacy as they're being listened to or recorded. And no, this is no wacky conspiracy theory, it's the new reality. The NSA got its way with an ultra-secret court order, as a new report now discloses.
The Guardian obtained the court order the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court issued and reports that the U.S. government now has virtually "unlimited authority to obtain the data for a specified three-month period ending on July 19." The order dates back to April 25, which means the NSA has been quietly collecting data for more than a month.
According to The Guardian, the court order mentions that Verizon must hand over "all call details or '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."
"Telephony metadata includes comprehensive communications routing information including but not limited to session identifying information (e.g. originating and terminating telephone number, International Mobile Subscriber Identity (IMSI) number, International Mobile station Equipment Identity (IMEI) number, etc.) trunk identifier, telephone calling card numbers, and time and duration of call," explains the court order.
In other words, this order forces Verizon, one of the largest telecommunications companies in the U.S., to give the NSA sensitive information on all telephone calls in its systems on an "ongoing, daily basis." This affects all calls, whether they're within the U.S. or international calls between the U.S. and other countries.
The publication further points out that this court order proves for the first time that telecommunication records of millions of U.S. citizens are massively collected under the Obama administration, regardless of whether the citizens in question were suspected of any wrongdoing or not. The NSA collects all records in bulk, without making any difference.
Under the terms of the court order, Verizon must hand over the phone numbers of both parties involved in a telephone call, as well as call duration, location data, time of call and unique identifiers.
The four-page order was signed by Judge Roger Vinson of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court and is due to expire on July 19, but it could be renewed. Moreover, the order forbids Verizon from disclosing this move to anyone other than an attorney and the employees who need to comply with the order.
"It's beyond Orwellian," said Jameel Jaffer, deputy legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union, in a statement to Bloomberg. It proves "the extent to which basic democratic rights are being surrendered in secret to the demands of unaccountable intelligence agencies."
Neither the White House nor the FBI or Verizon have made any comments regarding this. It remains unclear at this point whether the NSA made similar requests to other U.S. telecommunications companies as well, forcing them to feed its seemingly insatiable hunger for surveillance.
© 2013 Mobile & Apps All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.