Report: Secret court order gives US access to Verizon call records

The order gives the National Security Agency access to phone records and related data.

The U.S. National Security Agency has been allowed by a court order to collect phone records of a large number of customers of Verizon, according to a report in the Guardian on Thursday.

The April 25 order from the U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court in Washington, D.C., requires Verizon to produce call records or "telephony metadata" on an ongoing daily basis, according to the British newspaper, which published what it said was a copy of the order.

The metadata includes communications routing information such as session-identifying information, trunk identifier, telephone calling card numbers, and time and duration of call, according to the document. It will not, however, contain the content of a communication, or the name, address, and financial information of the customer.

The authorization expires on July 19, and the order can only be declassified by April 2038.

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court was set up in 1978 by the U.S. Congress as a special court to review applications for warrants related to national security investigations.

The order by Judge Roger Vinson also rules that the contents of the order or information that the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation and the NSA has sought the authorization should be disclosed only to authorized persons as defined by the court.

The requirement to turn in metadata applies to calls within the U.S., and calls between the U.S. and abroad, and does not cover communications wholly originating or terminating outside the U.S.

"There is no indication that the order to Verizon was unique or novel," said online rights group, Electronic Frontier Foundation in a blog post. Orders like the one published by the Guardian could exist for every major U.S. telecommunications company, it added.

"This type of untargeted, wholly domestic surveillance is exactly what EFF, and others have been suing about for years," EFF said.

"In digital era, privacy must be a priority. Is it just me, or is secret blanket surveillance obscenely outrageous?" former U.S. Vice President Al Gore wrote in a Twitter message, referring to the report in the Guardian.

NSA could not be immediately reached for comment.

John Ribeiro covers outsourcing and general technology breaking news from India for The IDG News Service. Follow John on Twitter at @Johnribeiro. John's e-mail address is john_ribeiro@idg.com

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags governmentsecurityregulationlegalverizonNational Security Agency

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

John Ribeiro

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?