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NSA's phone surveillance program exposed by Snowden is coming to a close

March 05, 2019 - 3:10 pm

The National Security Agency could shut down its phone surveillance system, according to the NY Times.  The system that analyzed domestic calls and texts has been disputed in the U.S., with concerns over invasion of American citizens' privacy. 

Legal authority from the surveillance system expires at the end of this year. The system was set in place after the 9/11 terrorist attacks and was exposed by intelligence contractor Edward Snowden in 2013.

Luke Murry, an advisor for California's Representative Kevin McCarthy, told a podcast for Lawfare that the NSA hasn't used the program in the last six months.  Edward Snowden's exposure of the NSA's program in 2013 showed that it never thwarted a single terrorist attack.  The program collected 151 million records in 2016 and 534 million records in 2017, according to a FISA transparency report.

The NSA will still be able to collect information overseas and noted that surveillance was used to bust prostitution rings rather than fight terrorism.

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