A top secret order recently gave the National Security Agency (NSA) permission to collect millions of phone records from Verizon customers, The Guardian reported Thursday. It’s doesn’t appear to be randomly collected data here and there, either. Apparently Verizon hands over data from “all telephone calls in its systems,” The Guardian said, so long as one end of the call was in the United States.
The conversations that occur during the calls are not recorded, so far as we know, though the government is able to collect information such as the location of both callers, the length of the phone, the time it was placed and more.
The secret collection of call data was approved by the Obama administration and by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which gave permission to the FBI and the NSA to collect data from April 25 to July 19.
Verizon isn’t even allowed to acknowledge the situation, The Guardian says, because part of the order from the government is that it must deny the entire request from the FBI and NSA. Right now Verizon is the only carrier being fingered in the report, but it’s possible that other telecom companies and wireless carriers are also providing call data.