Feeds

US secret court renews government telephone snooping

In new transparency push, secret court tells world how little it can tell world

The essential guide to IT transformation

The US's surveillance court has okayed the government's continued bulk interception and collection of telephony metadata.

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA) announced late Friday that it had rubber stamped renewed the government's authority to collect metadata in bulk.

Publication of the renewal comes after media reports stemming from leaks by whistleblower Edward Snowden on June 5th showed that the government was harvesting metadata from Verizon on all of its subscribers. Other major telecommunication companies are believed to be involved in similar mass data collection schemes.

In response to the leaks, the Director of National Intelligence officially declassified elements of this program on June 6th "in order to provide the public with a more thorough and balanced understanding of that program," the FISA release says.

The court order for that data slurp had been due to expire on July 19, 2013. It has now been renewed, allowing the continued collection by the government of data such as a mobile user's originating and terminating telephone number, International Mobile Subscriber Identity (IMSI) number, International Mobile station Equipment Identity (IMEI) number, trunk identifier, telephone calling card numbers, and time and duration of call.

Though members of the government have portrayed the interception of metadata as being benign since it doesn't contain the content of the voice or text messages, the value of this metadata is huge and allows for effectively tracking and profiling mobile users.

"Consistent with his prior declassification decision and in light of the significant and continuing public interest in the telephony metadata collection program, the DNI has decided to declassify and disclose publicly that the Government filed an application with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court seeking renewal of the authority to collect telephony metadata in bulk, and that the Court renewed that authority," FISA said.

Little else is known about the program, but that may change: the FISA statement said "the Administration is undertaking a careful and thorough review of whether and to what extent additional information or documents pertaining to this program may be declassified, consistent with the protection of national security." ®

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

More from The Register

next story
Munich considers dumping Linux for ... GULP ... Windows!
Give a penguinista a hug, the Outlook's not good for open source's poster child
UK fuzz want PINCODES on ALL mobile phones
Met Police calls for mandatory passwords on all new mobes
e-Borders fiasco: Brits stung for £224m after US IT giant sues UK govt
Defeat to Raytheon branded 'catastrophic result'
EU justice chief blasts Google on 'right to be forgotten'
Don't pretend it's a freedom of speech issue – interim commish
Detroit losing MILLIONS because it buys CHEAP BATTERIES – report
Man at hardware store was right: name brands DO last longer
Snowden on NSA's MonsterMind TERROR: It may trigger cyberwar
Plus: Syria's internet going down? That was a US cock-up
UK government accused of hiding TRUTH about Universal Credit fiasco
'Reset rating keeps secrets on one-dole-to-rule-them-all plan', say MPs
Caught red-handed: UK cops, PCSOs, specials behaving badly… on social media
No Mr Fuzz, don't ask a crime victim to be your pal on Facebook
Yes, but what are your plans if a DRAGON attacks?
Local UK gov outs most ridiculous FoI requests...
This'll end well: US govt says car-to-car jibber-jabber will SAVE lives
Department of Transportation starts cogs turning for another wireless comms standard
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.