National Security Agency (NSA) has collected over 151 million phone records of the Americans in 2016, even though the US Congress created a new system to limit the spy agency‘s ability to in gathering bulk data, reveals a report released by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) on 2 May.
Government has reported details that the NSA collected a vast amount of data under a new system, despite it being court ordered to only use this system to apprehend 42 terrorism suspects in the 2016.
The New York Times has reported that the chief civil liberties and privacy officer at the DNI, Alex Joel, acknowledged that the number of targets seemed very small “when compared to the large number of call detail records generated by these targets”.
“We believe that the number of unique identifiers in those records is surprisingly low,” he said.
The report has also revealed that on one occasion in 2016, FBI has reviewed information about an American, whose data was collected by the NSA under their surveillance programme. However, this report has failed to mention how often the NSA shares information with the FBI and other intelligence agencies during their investigations.
This report comes just days after the NSA said it will stop there secret, warrantless collection of the Americans’ emails, which was celebrated as a victory by privacy advocates who had long warned about the invasive nature of the agency’s spy programme. The report also comes as the US Congress mulls over whether to renew Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (Fisa), which is set to expire on 31 December 2017.
In the recent House Judiciary Committee hearing on Section 702, the committee’s top Democrat Rep John Conyers took the intelligence community to task for failing to provide an estimate of the number of US citizens’ communications collected by the NSA.
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