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 newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

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

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

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

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.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?