NSA deletes call data
Saturday 30 June 2018
The US intelligence organization NSA deletes call data from 685 million phone calls, collected since 2015.
Congress in the United States set foot for NSA’s practice of retrieving call data after American defector Edward Snowden revealed the scope of business in 2013.
Snowden, who previously worked for the CIA and NSA, leaked documents that showed that NSA daily received nearly 5 billion registrations from base stations worldwide.
The data showed, among other things, hundreds of millions of mobile phones at all times, as well as who called each other. The information went straight into a huge database and was then analyzed using a tool called Co-Traveler.
US telecom giants like AT & T have for several decades assisted the NSA with the collection, but in 2015 Congress adopted a law stating that the intelligence organization could no longer automatically retrieve such call data. The law instead instructs telecommunications companies to store these data for a period, but opened the NSA in certain cases to request access.
This has been done by the NSA, and the data they have retrieved has been stored in their own database. The NSA database finally contained call data from 685 million calls, but must now be deleted. The job of erasing began in May, NSA announced.
Had to go
Just a few months after Snowden’s revealing, the NSA chief Keith Alexander left the job, and in 2016, the scandal also cost the US National Intelligence Manager James Clapper the job.
During a hearing in Congress some months before Snowden’s disclosure, Clapper refused oath to receive call data from US telecom companies.
The NSA has over 30,000 employees and is the largest of the United States 16 intelligence organizations. The organization has facilities for collection and analysis in countries like UK, Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand and Germany.