NSA spying: Bulk collection of phone records ends

Two and a half years after the Edward Snowden leaks led to reports revealing massive NSA spying, one of the surveillance programs is over: the bulk collection of Americans’ phone records.

The National Security Agency on Sunday ended the controversial program as a result of the USA Freedom Act, which was passed in June. The law now requires the government to obtain a court order when it wants to access the call record information of terrorism suspects, which will be kept by the telecom companies.

“This is a victory for everyone who believes in protecting both American security and Americans’ constitutional rights,” Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., said in a statement Sunday.

The bulk collection of Americans’ phone records began based on the Patriot Act, which was passed after the 9/11 attacks. In May, a federal appeals court found the program to be illegal, as we wrote.

Of course, the reports based on the Snowden leaks included revelations about other mass surveillance programs, such as collection of Internet and social media communications.  Tech industry reaction to the USA Freedom Act’s passage in June shared a common theme: It was only a first step.


Photo: The National Security Administration campus in Fort Meade, Maryland, Thursday, June 6, 2013. (Associated Press)


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