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Massive breach of privacy in the U.S.

June 6th, 2013
07:15 PM ET

A secret court order requires one of America's largest telephone companies to hand over its data, its call data, to the United States government.

British newspaper The Guardian published a copy of the court order Wednesday night, revealing that the Verizon Corporation must provide telephone records for as many as 121 million domestic customers. 

If you're a Verizon customer, this means the National Security Agency headquartered in Maryland knows who you are, who you're talking to and how long your call lasts. Such warrantless surveillance began under the Bush administration after the 9/11 attacks. 

The secret program was exposed in 2006 and the following year Congress authorized the program under the supervision of a special court order, the FISA court, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, responsible for the secret order disclosed last night. It's the first we've seen that the Obama administration is continuing this Bush administration practice on such a massive scale.

In the video above Jimmy Gurule, a senior law enforcement official under President George Bush, speaks to CNN' Christiane Amanpour about these revelations. 


Filed under:  Christiane Amanpour • Latest Episode
soundoff (35 Responses)
  1. salino333

    A fall from the sky! Now everybody is upset! Data is collected, phone-calls are controlled, a big breach of privacy to every American, to every citizen of the global connected world – oh dear, what a mess and all people never have had the slightest idea, that it could be possible.
    I like to hear, that this is a scandal and that probably new laws and a global agreement about privacy and private affairs is needed to protect individual rights and choice-making. I like to hear that the promise for transparency and an open government (Obama administration) has to take over responsibility about the things, they do to make the country safe and to protect the folk against acts of terror. Technical possibilities are somehow seductive – private security companies try and collect every single data, just puzzling things together and reading your face-book pages. People are like glass and the things they do – mass-acting – they are not regarded as origin, individual and private – forget about privacy in modern life! Your daily life can be explained like ants and bees in a stock. Hopefully the human breed decides against this model and switches to one with individual choice and biography! Hopefully...

    June 7, 2013 at 3:57 am | Reply
    • Partyforever

      Everyone knew the US was searching for terrorists since 2001 and that everything that went through the browsers, Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, Firefox etc. was monitored – even Google, Bing, Yahoo searches.... it is just logical.

      June 11, 2013 at 10:08 am | Reply
  2. victorlinar@Yahoo.com

    Look, if you don't anything wrong the you don't have to worry, isn't it??? You see our enemies don't tell anything but we have to tel everything an\d the enemies will take care of us, The rerrorist and the bad human beings are trying to do harm. OK

    June 8, 2013 at 8:55 am | Reply
  3. klondikejack

    Talk about a tempest in a teapot...these metadata have been collected for years by companies and sold or shared with other companies ad nauseum. Anyone with half a brain would never put secret information on the internet.

    June 8, 2013 at 9:42 pm | Reply
    • knox

      @Klondikejack...i agree for 70% of your comment but i think its not only about information On Or Through Internet , its about someone virtually listening to you even when u are talking on a phone inside closed restroom at your home...such type of surveillance does not fits well with our " Free" culture

      June 9, 2013 at 2:59 am | Reply
      • klondikejack

        As far as I know, telephone companies (include ISPs in this, please) have been keeping this type of metadata for years. Perhaps the most reasonable approach to fending off "big brother" is for the 'phone companies to stop this practice. It is not apparent why they keep it in the first place, except perhaps for billing purposes.

        June 9, 2013 at 8:57 am |
  4. John

    Personal information would never be used against those who have differing political or philosophical beliefs, would it? So anyone who wants to destroy a political opponent (the word political is another word for deception), will have plenty of ammo. If you don't think it could happen, look at the last three years of lies and slander against anyone affiliated with the current U.S. Adminstration. The information Thieves will do what they want when they want, with the information that can be leaked easily at any time. There are four groups of people here: Deceivers, deceived, willfully deceived (the ones who believe in patently false data) and the opponents of those "want to be" kings and queens.

    June 9, 2013 at 9:12 am | Reply
  5. Sam

    There is much greater technology in existence and practice, for eavesdropping, than this.

    June 9, 2013 at 9:23 am | Reply
  6. Kalyowa samuel

    Ooooo yah what i have seen in that is quite provocative to human privacy.but all in all the goverment has to take a great protection to its people what so ever.

    June 9, 2013 at 4:07 pm | Reply
  7. Caroline

    In a world where people consciously share persona data on facebook, what crime is there is collecting data in purpose of national security? If gathering this kind of data is what is needed to pursue terrorists and avoid future disasters, we should not complain about the government accessing this data, but rather require better ways to process it in a more efficient way and make sure that this relative loss of privacy is not in vain.
    Now access to this type of data should be subject to more rigid restrictions and not open to any subcontractors. What Mr Snowden revealed should be welcomed by the US authorities as a way to stimulate healthy debate on how to reinforce the national security by restricting the access to this kind of information only to those who should access it. One day or another this information will fall in hands of untrusted people and it will be too late…

    June 10, 2013 at 3:41 pm | Reply
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