National Security Agency now authorized to gather telephone records under new electronic spying law
Apr 20, 2016 05:21 AM EDT
The National Security Agency now has the authority to collect telephone records under the new electronic spying law. This is considered the very first order of the U.S Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.
According to the Consumerist, the FISC was first created in 1970. It is responsible for reviewing request from the government for conducting surveillance that involves national security issues. Any decisions made by the FISC and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review (FISCR) have long been classified. The NSA have been using FISC orders in order to collect stored data from large internet companies.
FISC Chief Judge Thomas Hogan signed the order and concluded that the NSA met the requirements of the USA Freedom Act. For the past years, NSA was allowed to collect metadata, this is the records of American citizens and resident calls. However, US intelligence officials found out that the data did not have some specific justification as per The Business Insider.
Los Angeles Times wrote that Edward Snowden, the former contractor for the NSA, exposed domestic surveillance programs. This has prompted the Congress to pass the USA Freedom Act which allows certain information gathering practices to continue but with privacy advocate in order to represent the public interest.
The new law now orders the government agencies to target specific information from telecom companies after obtaining an authorization from foreign intelligence. The new law also removes the identities of the telecom providers as well as the individual numbers from the data gathered by NSA.
According to the Judge Hogan's decision, although the new surveillance law requires government agencies to destroy telephone metadata which were mistakenly taken against US citizens; agencies can, from time to time, keep such data for as long as 6 months if agents have definite reasons for believing that it could somehow be an evidence to a crime.