NSA collecting phone records of millions of Verizon customers daily
The National Security Agency is currently collecting the telephone records of millions of US customers of Verizon, one of America's largest telecoms providers, under a top secret court order issued in April.
The order, a copy of which has been obtained by the Guardian, requires Verizon on an "ongoing, daily basis" to give the NSA information on all telephone calls in its systems, both within the US and between the US and other countries.
The document shows for the first time that under the Obama administration the communication records of millions of US citizens are being collected indiscriminately and in bulk – regardless of whether they are suspected of any wrongdoing....
Internet Companies Deny They're Helping the NSA Collect User Data. Should We Believe Them?
...Last night on Twitter, my husband outlined five possibilities:
1. The companies are lying
2. Only a few people in the company know about this, and they aren't issuing the statements
3. The Post and the Guardian are wrong and have been duped
4. PRISM was operating without the knowledge of the companies
5. The companies know, and those statements are very carefully worded.
All of these are in some way unbelievable. #1 is asking for a class action suit that destroys your company. #3 involves some very suspicious national security reporters at two different outlets simultaneously getting duped. And #2 strikes me as extremely unlikely. I can imagine one rogue employee doing this without telling his employers. I cannot imagine the exact same thing happening at nine of the biggest internet companies.
The most likely possibilities seem to be #4 or #5: the NSA is filtering this stuff at some point outside the companies, or the companies have issued some very, very carefully worded statements.
It's impossible to say for sure which it is. But as Julian Sanchez, the Cato Institute's tech privacy expert, points out, there may be a clue in the statements. "All the denials can be literally technically true without anything in the story being substantively false," he told me. "We've never heard of PRISM" might just mean "They didn't tell us the codename!" Likewise, Facebook and Microsoft's statements add up to saying they don't do this sort of thing voluntarily....
WSJ: Big Brother also collecting credit-card transactions
...The National Security Agency’s monitoring of Americans includes customer records from the three major phone networks as well as emails and Web searches, and the agency also has cataloged credit-card transactions, said people familiar with the agency’s activities.
The disclosure this week of an order by a secret U.S. court for Verizon Communications Inc.’s phone records set off the latest public discussion of the program. But people familiar with the NSA’s operations said the initiative also encompasses phone-call data from AT&T Inc. and Sprint Nextel Corp., records from Internet-service providers and purchase information from credit-card providers....
...NSA also obtains access to data from Internet service providers on Internet use such as data about email or website visits, several former officials said. NSA has established similar relationships with credit-card companies, three former officials said.
It couldn’t be determined if any of the Internet or credit-card arrangements are ongoing, as are the phone company efforts, or one-shot collection efforts. The credit-card firms, phone companies and NSA declined to comment for this article....