The NSA Is Still Data Mining Your Telephone Calls

I confess that I’m a little puzzled by this Glenn Greenwald story in the Guardian:

The National Security Agency is currently collecting the telephone records of millions of US customers of Verizon, one of America’s largest telecoms providers, under a top secret court order issued in April….Under the terms of the blanket order, the numbers of both parties on a call are handed over, as is location data, call duration, unique identifiers, and the time and duration of all calls. The contents of the conversation itself are not covered.

The NSA, as part of a program secretly authorized by President Bush on 4 October 2001, implemented a bulk collection program of domestic telephone, internet and email records….Until now, there has been no indication that the Obama administration implemented a similar program.

Obviously I’m missing something. After Democrats caved on the surveillance bill in 2008, I simply assumed that this kind of massive data mining of telephone metadata was going to continue forever and everyone knew it. But Glenn suggests that, in fact, this is something surprising. So I guess I assumed wrong.

I’m going to mull this over for a while to figure out where I went wrong. In the meantime, go read the full story.