The NSA has been collecting cellphone records for the past decade, but it’s only now that the agency is getting serious about it.
That’s according to documents leaked by Edward Snowden.
The NSA is now taking steps to collect data about cellphones in the United States, according to the documents leaked last week by the journalist Glenn Greenwald.
The new effort will likely be dubbed “Phone Extraction and Data Extraction.”
While phone data extraction is something that has been happening for years, this is the first time that the NSA is attempting to collect it in a significant way.
The program is also not being conducted by an individual in the field.
Instead, the NSA will target specific cellphones that are connected to a “specific cell tower.”
The NSA will then request that the cell phone company provide the information to the NSA.
The phone companies will then have to comply with the request and hand over all the phone records.
It will also require the phone companies to hand over a list of all the calls the phone company had on the specific phone tower.
The government also wants to collect the phone numbers and email addresses of the individuals who use the phone.
These data are also not required to be stored.
The Intercept notes that the phone collection has been going on for years and has only recently begun to be noticed.
While there’s no information yet on how many people have been affected, there are more than 50 million people in the US, and the NSA has already been collecting phone records for a decade.
The data collection was first disclosed in June.
It’s unclear what will happen to the phone data the NSA wants to get.
The documents released by Snowden, however, suggest that the program could be extended.
“As of March, the National Security Agency will no longer use the term ‘extracting’ the phone call metadata,” according to an April 6, 2018, NSA press release.
“Instead, the term will be applied to ‘sending’ the data to the originating agency.”
Snowden added that the term “sending” could mean that the data is sent directly to the agency’s servers, rather than being routed to the phones.
The Guardian notes that, while the NSA may be using the term, it will not be used by the government.
“The NSA is not collecting phone data and metadata from American citizens and will not engage in targeted collection of phone records or metadata, even if such collection is necessary,” the Guardian said in a statement.
“However, NSA officials have stated that they will continue to collect phone records and metadata for law enforcement and other intelligence purposes, and will use that information to support investigations of suspected crimes.”