Last night, the Guardian published a court order that they obtained which is in reference to Verizon. They've been asked to hand over millions of phone records on a daily and ongoing basis to the NSA. To no surprise, many people are not happy with this. As the report began to gain steam, President Obama's administration went and issued a statement this morning to try and calm everyone down. But it probably won't help much.
The order says that Verizon has been asked to hand over numbers of both parties on phones calls, along with location data, call duration, unique identifiers and the time and duration of all calls. The information that Verizon is handing over to the NSA does not include the contents of the messages or any personal information of Verizon's subscribers or any other cell number. The information is referred to as "metadata," and could include calls domestically and internationally.
Obama's statement this morning claims that this is "a critical tool in protecting the nation from terrorist threats to the United States." and that "it allows counter-terrorism personnel to discover whether known or suspected terrorists have been in contact with other persons who may be engaged in terrorist activities, particularly people located inside the United States."
The Guardian is reporting that this order gives the government "unlimited authority to obtain the data for a specified three-month period ending on July 19th." It also expressly bars Verizon from disclosing to the public either the existence of the FBI's request for it's customers' records, or the court data itself. The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (Fisa) granted the order to the FBI on April 25th.
Currently, we don't know if similar orders have been made for other carriers in the US including Sprint, AT&T and T-Mobile. There is a very thin line being walked here. This is definitely going to cause some trouble for both the government and Verizon. We'll be sure to keep you up to date on everything here. You can check out the Source information below for more information.