NSA obtains permission to collect metadata under new law

Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) Chief Judge Thomas Hogan has approved a NSA request to collect phone metadata of targeted individuals under the USA FREEDOM Act of 2015.

The order to grant the intelligence agency permission was officially issued on Dec. 31, 2015, but not made public until Tuesday. It is the first FISC order of its kind under the new law which officially replaced the USA PATRIOT Act (2001) on June 2, 2015.

According to the FREEDOM Act, government intelligence agencies must obtain permission first from FISC and then request records from the telecommunications company for a specific phone number.

Judge Hogan stated in the Dec. 31 order that NSA wanted permission to access “the ongoing daily production of detailed call records relating to an authorized international terrorism investigation . . . associated with a foreign power . . . engaged in international terrorism.”

Previously, under the PATRIOT Act, government intelligence agencies were allowed to collect phone metadata en masse, without a domestic warrant.

Although the USA FREEDOM Act affords more civil liberty protections to U.S. citizens, private information obtained by intelligence agencies accidentally can still be saved in government databases for up to six months if the authorities deem that it may help solve or prosecute a subsequent violation of the law.


[Reuters] [Photo courtesy atlantablackstar.com]