Officials comment on the Verizon court order: if the NSA doesn't mine phone calls, the terrorists win

Officials comment on the Verizon court order: if the NSA doesn't mine phone calls, the terrorists win
Verizon used to buck the all-powerful National Security Agency just as recently as 2006, refusing to give up phone call records, but the cards have been on the table for quite a while now, it seems, judging from the leaked secret court order yesterday.

Finally there are some comments from the administration defending the practice, which say, as you could have guessed even before security officials speak, that data mining of call logs is necessary to thwart terrorist threats and the like. The leaked court order was stamped by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court on April 25 and lasts about three months. 

That might not sound as a long period, but ordering Verizon to give the NSA bulk call data for millions of customers on an "ongoing, daily basis" even for a day is troubling, to say the least. These include time and duration of calls, location data, as well as the phones' serial numbers, including calls that originated or were relayed abroad, but not the content of the calls themselves. The unnamed official defended the practice, which is legally based on provisions in the controversial Patriot Act instituted after 9/11:

via Politico

Story timeline



1. roldefol

Posts: 4744; Member since: Jan 28, 2011

Welcome to post-9/11 America. Check some of your civil rights at the door and trust gov't claims that this is why there hasn't been another major attack since.

20. MikeG77

Posts: 426; Member since: Nov 24, 2008

Ben Franklin said it best "Those Who Sacrifice Liberty For Security Deserve Neither"


Posts: 1459; Member since: Mar 09, 2010

To use the "terrorist" language to manipulate an agenda seems to be the way of the government thus far! The Oliver Stone documentary said it best when it said that the Bush/Cheney administration coined the war on terrorism because in this war anyone and everyone can be labeled a terrorist, and its a war that can never be won. Meaning they can levy the word "terrorist" and hope to get public sentiment to rally to the cause of furthering their own agenda!

24. roldefol

Posts: 4744; Member since: Jan 28, 2011

Close. They declared "war" on terrorism knowing that it can never be defeated, so that we can remain at a perpetual state of war, filling the coffers of the military industry. And giving the executive branch leeway to further meddle in the affairs of foreign nations declared to be "evil" or "terrorist".

38. lsutigers

Posts: 832; Member since: Mar 08, 2009

Well the federal government has a huge surveillance system called DCSNet (FBI Digital Collection System Network). It can intercept/wiretap any phone call, landline or wireless on any carrier and/or text message at any given time. It's run by Sprint for the gov't on a dedicated fiber backbone network. Not sure if this is what the article is referring to but it sure sounds like it.

41. networkdood

Posts: 6330; Member since: Mar 31, 2010

The true terrorists of the world reside in Washington D.C.

2. vandroid

Posts: 405; Member since: Sep 04, 2012

The government has already won ... Oops I mean terrorists

42. networkdood

Posts: 6330; Member since: Mar 31, 2010

shhh!! Secret!!!

3. PhoneArenaUser

Posts: 5498; Member since: Aug 05, 2011

They just want to have full control on citizens and terrorism is just an excuse.

7. Retro-touch unregistered

When something happens, that's when you'll be the first one complaining that the government didn't do enough. Better safe than sorry, they're not listening to calls and there's a chance they can track some terrorist activities, that's worth it IMO if it can help prevent people from dying, a life is worth much more than someone's privacy

9. PhoneArenaUser

Posts: 5498; Member since: Aug 05, 2011

Sometimes the government itself and attracts the terrorism. ;)

10. msa1988

Posts: 418; Member since: Mar 30, 2010

In theory, this is a great idea, and I want to agree with you so bad - i just can't. Think about all the scumbags in the white house. You honestly think they are looking out for the "best interest of the US citizens?" You're blind if you think this.

12. roldefol

Posts: 4744; Member since: Jan 28, 2011

There's more truth to your statement than most of America would like to believe. At the risk of going completely off-topic and into a massive political discussion... OBL wouldn't have planned those attacks if we hadn't meddled in the affairs of the Arab world for the last century. But you weren't allowed to say things like that after 9/11, because that makes you a "blame America firster".

14. PhoneArenaUser

Posts: 5498; Member since: Aug 05, 2011

"At the risk of going completely off-topic and into a massive political discussion..." I agree, it is - site about mobile technologies and we shouldn't go into political discussion, it will cause only headaches, let's keep political junk away. I'm moving to the next article. :)

13. MikeG77

Posts: 426; Member since: Nov 24, 2008

Retro I agree with you that a persons life is worth more than someones privacy BUT i think your missing the point in regards to why people are angry about what the NSA is doing. The issue people are having is that the gov't is requesting your phone records with out getting a WARRANT. What if the Police showed up at your door and told you they wanted to search your home....are you going to let them? You would probably ask them to provide a warrant that legally gives them the ability to do so. Thats how the law works! The current administration ran around saying how transparent they are and yet they are not. They have continued to use the Patriot Act as a guide and have also expanded its usage outside of what it was inteded for. They continue to have scandal after scandal and now they use the escuse of national security to circumvent the law. I want you to honestly ask yourself where do you draw the line in regards to what the gov't can do?

15. vandroid

Posts: 405; Member since: Sep 04, 2012

Theyve been doing this for along time everyone phone call text you ever sent isn't gone they have them and can access them when ever they want

19. MikeG77

Posts: 426; Member since: Nov 24, 2008

I'm not saying they haven't been doing this all ready but the carriers store the info and if when the gov't wants to acquire it they should follow the law. That means they need to have probably cause and warrant.

17. roldefol

Posts: 4744; Member since: Jan 28, 2011

I'm disappointed in the ways the current administration has continued or even expanded the Patriot Act and related civil rights violations. (This is still on-topic btw, since the topic is phone record privacy.) The fact is that candidate Obama and President Obama had to be different people - one was speaking to our hopes (more transparency, closing Guantanamo, cheaper health care), the other had to deal with the realities of governing. And one of those realities is that they need to balance public safety and civil rights. Just imagine if they had repealed USA PATRIOT and closed Guantanamo, and then a few months later we had a major terrorist attack on US soil with thousands of dead Americans. Save us, President Gingrich!

43. networkdood

Posts: 6330; Member since: Mar 31, 2010

When something happens? LOL!!! Yeah, when an 'event' 9/11? Like most flase flag events, there are 'tests' being ran that very same day....smoke and mirrors is a favorite of our government. 'War games' and lax security conveniently on the day of such an 'event'.

16. Daftama

Posts: 641; Member since: Nov 03, 2012

P.A.U couldn't agree more...ppl r controlled more than they think they are...

4. trexnkrumpets

Posts: 45; Member since: Jan 15, 2013

Big whoop. I say go for it, let them listen in as well - under warrant. Your own fault for attracting their attention.

5. roldefol

Posts: 4744; Member since: Jan 28, 2011

By "your", you mean me personally as a Verizon customer? I could be a terrorist. I'm not....

6. platformwars

Posts: 86; Member since: Sep 14, 2012

I don't think there's any problem with this.. i mean... if you are not doing anything wrong.. then you have nothing to hide.. This is just another way of making sure that a disaster like 9/11 doesn't happen again.. Which is good.. We don't want anything like that happening EVER AGAIN..

32. Zero0

Posts: 592; Member since: Jul 05, 2012

Backwards it saying you're. It should go, "If you're not doing anything wrong, they have nothing to see." Welcome to America, where the Fourth Amendment is an actual thing that exists. Have probable cause to say that I'm doing something wrong and want evidence against me? Fine by me. Just show me the warrant. As for preventing another 9/11, we've tightened up dramatically without the Patriot Act. The TSA actually isn't THAT bad, to be honest. That's a huge plus for security. But the big one is the way intelligence has been re-aligned in the time since. The NSA, CIA, FBI, and DoD (and other acronyms, I assume) all share information better than they had in the past. Apparently, a bunch of divisions of government each had tiny hints about a potential attack, but nothing substantial enough to determine anything meaningful. The speculation is that, if they could have put together all of the evidence, 9/11 might have been caught before it happened. The National Security Council allows for this to happen in a much more efficient way than it did pre-9/11.

35. true1984

Posts: 865; Member since: May 23, 2012

well the tsa hasnt really helped any and it was more efficient before the tsa

34. true1984

Posts: 865; Member since: May 23, 2012

because as an american citizen you have a basic right to privacy. what this does is state that everyone is guilty until proven innocent. so it shouldn't be "if you didn't do anything you have nothing to worry about" it should be "why am i being treated like i did something wrong?" it our constitutional right not to be treated like criminals. and its scary since our president is a constitutional law professor

8. papss unregistered

This is the reason that has been talked about many times with regards to google.. Not them specifically but they the government seem to do what they want and call it public safety. Scary world we live in.

11. AJmeBOY

Posts: 34; Member since: Dec 16, 2011

Had an oversight agency been receiving information about the IP addresses of people accessing sites such as the al-Queda Inspire magazine that taught the Boston Marathoners how to make a pressure cooker bomb then perhaps it could have been thwarted in the first place. If you're not doing anything wrong or aiding someone else in doing something wrong you should have nothing to fear. Ultimately, look at it as job creation. More jobs for people to look at and analyze the data and more software jobs to create technology that identifies patterns. Safety, security, prevention, and job creation!

18. MikeG77

Posts: 426; Member since: Nov 24, 2008

Haha so your saying it ok for the gov't to acquire your phone calls with no warrant under the guise of public safety and job creation? If thats the case your being very foolish as the gov't was all ready aware via the Russian gov't that there was an issue with 1 of the Boston bombers.

21. Droid_X_Doug

Posts: 5993; Member since: Dec 22, 2010

First off, this is the Verizon business unit that serves businesses, so the black helicopters aren't coming to get your guns just yet. However, all is not well in the land of baseball, apple pie and Chevrolet. This is a research project for NSA. They are developing an algorithm to attempt to make predictions based on patterns. The original work was done in WWII against Japan. When the Japanese would change their codes, there would be a brief period where the wireless traffic could not be read. When that happened, the US would analyze patterns (who was talking to who, where the traffic originated, etc.). Fast forward to just after 9/11, and John Poindexter (remember him from Iran Contra?), wanted to launch a pattern analysis project based on credit & debit card transactions. That hit a little too close to home for even Republicans, and the project was shelved. Unfortunately the cat got out of the bag. Just like with drones and targeted assassination, Obama's administration has taken an R concept and expanded it. And the Supremes have gone along with it. With the recent ruling on DNA sampling, the 4th Ammendment to the US Constitution has been vitiated

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