Surveillance court extends NSA's phone records collection

The program was extended for five months as it winds down

A U.S. surveillance court has extended a controversial telephone records dragnet while the National Security Agency works to wind down the program on orders from Congress.

Congress voted in June to rein in the NSA's mass collection of U.S. telephone records, but the USA Freedom Act allowed for a six-month transition away from the program. On Monday, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court approved an FBI application to continue the records collection program until December.

"Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose (the more things change, the more they stay the same), well, at least for 180 days," FISC Judge Michael Mosman wrote in the approval.

The "short answer is yes" to legal questions about whether the USA Freedom Act ended bulk collection of U.S. phone records, but "Congress deliberately carved out a 180-day period following the date of enactment in which such collection was specifically authorized," he wrote.

Senator Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat, blasted the judge for extending the program.

"I see no reason for the executive branch to restart bulk collection, even for a few months," Wyden, a surveillance critic, said in a statement. "This illegal dragnet surveillance violated Americans' rights for fourteen years without making our country any safer."

Wyden said he is "relieved," however, that the program will end after five months. "It will take a concerted effort by everyone who cares about Americans' privacy and civil liberties to continue making inroads against government overreach," he added.

The National Journal first reported the FISC's approval of the collection program's extension.

Grant Gross covers technology and telecom policy in the U.S. government for The IDG News Service. Follow Grant on Twitter at GrantGross. Grant's email address is grant_gross@idg.com.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags telecommunicationsecurityRon WydenU.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance CourtU.S. National Security AgencyMichael MosmanU.S. CongressgovernmentprivacyU.S. FBI

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Grant Gross

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Crucial Ballistix Elite 32GB Kit (4 x 8GB) DDR4-3000 UDIMM

Learn more >

Gadgets & Things

Lexar® Professional 1000x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards

Learn more >

Family Friendly

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Plox Star Wars Death Star Levitating Bluetooth Speaker

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?