7 Things to Know About the Government’s Secret Database of Cellular Data


Correction appended: June 6, 2013

A top secret federal court order reveals that the FBI and the National Security Agency are collecting the cell phone data of millions of Americans. The document, obtained by The Guardian, compels Verizon to send the NSA information about all telephone calls made on the telecom’s network within the United States. Here are seven quick things to know about the secret directive and its implications:

1. What Verizon Shares with the NSA: The court order requires Verizon to provide both the ingoing and outgoing telephone numbers of a given call, unique identifiers of individual phones, the time of the call and its duration. Subscribers’ names, addresses and contact information are not revealed. Calls and texts are also not monitored under the order.

2. Collecting Massive Amounts of Cell Phone Data is Legal, For Now: According to the court, information like phone numbers…

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