US Supreme Court Rejects Phone Metadata Spying Case

Today the US Supreme Court rejected a case for the secret collection of millions of American's phone records.

The case, made by the Electronic Privacy Information Center, being thrown out leaves legislation as the only path to halting the dragnet spying program.

The core argument of the case was that reasonable suspicion is required by current law in order to demand the personal records of an American citizen, and that the FISA court does not have the authority to allow intelligence agencies to mass gather information on citizens that are not under any suspicion.

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court has processed at least 34 section 1861 orders, which obligates a phone company to hand over all of its customer records including all call metadata to the agency that is making the request. This includes names, addresses, phone unique identifiers, calling card information, timestamps, IP addresses for VOIP telephony, and more.

To be clear, this is not targeted data. This is pulling all of the call records for everyone who has an account with the company receiving the order. There is also no selective "tossing out" of data that is not relevant to an investigation like agencies have claimed is policy with other data gathering techniques.

To see how much someone can learn about you from your metadata, check out this creepy interactive animation by the German publication Die Zeit.

Sources:
http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2013/11/scotus-phone-metadata-spying/

http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/50/1861

http://www.techlawjournal.com/topstories/2013/20130606.asp

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