Surveillance court renews NSA phone records program

The FISA court approves the metadata collection program for the 36th time in seven years

A U.S. surveillance court has renewed its approval of a U.S. National Security Agency program that collects U.S. residents' telephone records in bulk.

The U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court on Friday again approved the NSA phone records program amid multiple lawsuits challenging the legality of the program and more than 20 bills in Congress that seek to alter the program.

The U.S. Office of the Director of National Intelligence asked the FISC for a renewal of the telephone records metadata collection program, the ODNI said in a statement Friday.

A judge in New York has ruled in favor of the NSA in a lawsuit alleging the program violates the U.S. Constitution, while Judge Richard Leon of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ruled in December that the program likely violates the Fourth Amendment. In California, defendants in a terrorism case lost an appeal to have their convictions overturned after they challenged the constitutionality of the surveillance program.

The New York and California court decisions, along with the findings of 15 FISC judges on 36 separate occasions over seven years support the view of President Barack Obama's administration that "the telephony metadata collection program is lawful," ODNI spokesman Shawn Turner said in the statement.

Still, the U.S. intelligence community "continues to be open to modifications to this program that would provide additional privacy and civil liberty protections while still maintaining its operational benefits," Turner added.

The Obama administration is "carefully evaluating" recommendations of the President's Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technologies, the statement added. In December, the Obama-appointed task force recommended major changes to the telephone records program and questioned its effectiveness.

In addition, a report from the U.S. Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board is due in the coming weeks. "The administration will review all of these recommendations and consult with Congress and the Intelligence Community to determine if there are ways to achieve our counterterrorism mission in a manner that gives the American people greater confidence," the ODNI statement said.

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 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 governmentprivacytelecommunicationBarack ObamaU.S. National Security AgencyU.S. District Court for the District of ColumbiaU.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance CourtShawn TurnerU.S. Office of the Director of National IntelligenceRichard Leon

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

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Bitdefender 2019

This Holiday Season, protect yourself and your loved ones with the best. Buy now for Holiday Savings!

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

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.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?