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Fri Jul 19, 2013, 05:29 PM


FISA court renews NSA surveillance program to capture millions of phone calls

The Obama administration has renewed the authority for the National Security Agency to regularly collect the phone records of millions of Americas as allowed under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

The United States government has reportedly asked the FISA court every 90 days since 2006 to renew an order that compels the nationís telecommunication providers to hand over telephony metadata pertaining to millions of US citizens. The program has been conducted in near total secrecy, however, until NSA leaker Edward Snowden released top-secret documentation to the Guardian newspaper which caused an international backlash upon being published last month.

In that Guardian article, the paper showed that the NSA could collect metadata for 90 days up until July 19, at which point that power would expire if a reauthorization was not resubmitted. Just moments before the 5 p.m. deadline on Friday, though, the Officer of the Director of National Intelligence confirmed that the FISA court has reaffirmed that authority.

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A Single NSA Wiretap Could Lead To Snooping On '2.5 Million Americans'

At a recent judiciary hearing on the wide-ranging surveillance practices of the NSA revealed a staggering practice called "three-hop analysis."
Three-hop analysis means that when the NSA requests justification for tapping a "suspected terrorist," they can also tap that suspect's contacts, then their contacts, and the contacts of their contacts.

Pete Yost of the Boston Globe explained the scope of these taps:

If the average person calls 40 unique people, three-hop analysis could allow the government to mine the records of 2.5 million Americans when investigating one suspected terrorist.

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