Thanks to an I've Been Mugged reader for passing along this information.
Yesterday, the Guardian UK newspaper reported about a secret order allowing the National Security Agency (NSA) to collect the telephone records of all Verizon customers in the USA, including calls both inside the USA and calls to locations outside. This broad, daily data collection doesn't target specific people suspect of wrongdoing, but broadly collects data about all U.S. customers of Verizon.
Verizon is one of the largest telecommunications providers in the USA, offering wireline, wireless, Internet access, and many other phone services -- for both consumers and businesses. You can read the full Verizon court order at the Guardian UK website. The data items collected:
- The telelphone numbers of both parties in the phone call
- The duration of the phone call
- The time, date the call was made
- The location of the call (think wireless)
- Any unique identifiers (think IP address, mobile device UDID)
Reportedly, the content of the conversation are supposedly not collected. It is unknown if there are similar court orders for other U.S. telecommunications companies (e.g., AT&T, Sprint, etc.). Sadly, the Obama Administration is defending this data collection. Contact your elected officials today and tell them how you feel about this.
[Update - June 7: the Guarrdian UK reported that the data collection by the NSA also includes direct access to the computer systems of other vendors, notably Faceboo, Google, and Apple.]