U.S. Govt secretly seizing all Verizon users’ phone data daily
Well how now brown cow. If you are a Verizon customer and you don’t want the federal government continuing to scrutinize all the calls you are making, both domestically and abroad, as they’ve already been doing daily via secret court order since April, you might consider changing providers. Unfortunately, that might not help because it is far from clear that Verizon is the only phone provider that the government is seizing millions of phone records from daily. It is the only one we currently know about. Here’s the skinny (and the real shocker is the breaking story came via The Guardian which uncovered the secret court order).
“The document shows for the first time that under the Obama administration the communication records of millions of US citizens are being collected indiscriminately and in bulk – regardless of whether they are suspected of any wrongdoing.” The secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA) handed over the order to the FBI on April 25, and gave them a three month blanket surveillance clearance. That means that numbers of both parties, location data, call duration, and time of all calls are subject to government surveillance. That makes the Obama administration’s oversight essentially unlimited. The court order forbids Verizon from informing customers that their phone records have been taken and are under surveillance
The order forces Verizon to turn over electronic versions of “all call detail records or ‘telephony metadata’ created by Verizon for communications between the United States and abroad” … or, more ominously, “wholly within the United States, including local telephone calls.”
So changing providers in order to protect your privacy? Not so fast, as the Guardian reports that “previous reporting has suggested the NSA has collected cell records from all major mobile networks.”