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AT&T, Sprint Users: Yep, NSA Tracks Your Calls, Too
And it has collected credit card, web-browsing data: insiders
By Matt Cantor, Newser User
Posted Jun 7, 2013 3:55 AM CDT
Updated Jun 7, 2013 5:30 AM CDT
A sign stands outside the National Security Administration (NSA) campus in Fort Meade, Md., Thursday, June 6, 2013.   (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

(Newser) – It's not just Verizon customers who face government surveillance: The NSA has also been keeping track of phone records from the other two biggest phone networks, AT&T and Sprint Nextel, the Wall Street Journal reports. The Journal puts it starkly: When most Americans make a call, the NSA knows where and when it occurred, what number was called, and how long the conversation lasted. All three branches of the government have approved the process. On top of that, the agency has tracked credit card usage, insiders say, and it has received information from Internet service providers on user activity from emailing to web-surfing—though it's not clear whether the ISP and credit card data-gathering is still occurring.

The content of emails and phone calls isn't tracked. The Bush administration launched the program, the Journal notes, and the Obama administration has continued it. But it's controlled by a "robust legal regime," says Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, noting that data is "subject to strict restrictions on handling" and the system is reviewed about once every 90 days (Clapper is also defending the PRISM data-gathering program). Officials actually view less than 1% of records, says another official. "We are trying to find a needle in a haystack, and this is the haystack," notes a former top Pentagon official.

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Jun 7, 2013 6:04 PM CDT
USA: "we listen in on your calls and track every move you make." World: "duh!!!"
Jun 7, 2013 3:59 PM CDT
The veil is lifted, Democrats and Republicans both the same...
Jun 7, 2013 11:17 AM CDT
Humans are partial, computers are impartial. The data is being reviewed by humans. Humans can use the data for purposes other than intended, whereas computers can be programmed to be more selective in their research and their analysis. Also, computers are quicker in searching out information. We've got to take the human element out of this a bit. If the purpose of the law is to find "X" and it finds "Y", "Y" should not be taken into account. An example is that a search is looking for a gun in the commission of a robbery, but finds a knife that was used to pry open a mailbox instead, can the knife be to prosecute the crime of prying open an mailbox? As the law stands right now, the answer is yes. How will this jive with telephone conversations snooping? The government is looking for terrorists but instead finds a bank president cheating on his wife with a prostitute; will the bank president be arrested and sent to jail for paying for sex? There are a lot of questions, but I don't have any answers.