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Technology / Cybersecurity

US court renews authority to continue telephone surveillance programme

A secret court in the US has granted the National Security Administration’s (NSA) request in continuing the telephone surveillance as part of a snooping programme that was uncovered by Edward Snowden.

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) revealed that it had decided to declassify information on the programmes and announce the programme renewal, which is said to happen regularly though it is not publicised.

According to ODNI, the renewal is part of efforts to boost transparency following Snowden’s leak of the telephone data collection and email surveillance programmes.

In June 2013, Snowden disclosed confidential data regarding the NSA programme to media and then ran away from the country, while he has now been accused of spying.

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ODNI said in a statement: "On June 6, 2013, the Director of National Intelligence declassified certain information about this telephony metadata collection program in order to provide the public with a more thorough and balanced understanding of the program."

"Consistent with his prior declassification decision and in light of the significant and continuing public interest in the telephony metadata collection program, the DNI has decided to declassify and disclose publicly that the Government filed an application with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court seeking renewal of the authority to collect telephony metadata in bulk, and that the Court renewed that authority."

The US Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court supported Yahoo and ordered the government to declassify and documents from a 2008 case justifying Prism.

Tech firms including Google, Microsoft, Apple, Facebook, and others were found in NSA documents, as the firms participating in the US surveillance programme.

Nineteen US organisations represented by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) have sued NSA for breaching constitutional rights.

"The Administration is undertaking a careful and thorough review of whether and to what extent additional information or documents pertaining to this program may be declassified, consistent with the protection of national security," the statement added.

The European Commission warned that following the snooping scandal, the European firms are anticipated to quit services offered by the US internet providers.
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CBR Staff Writer

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