NSA Claims Collecting Cellphone Location Data Is Legal Under Executive Order — From 1981


Alex Wilhelm
techcrunch.com
December 6, 2013

Today the National Security Agency (NSA) discussed its program that collects billions of cellphone location records each day. The NSA targets foreign phones but also absorbs data on the phones of American citizens.

“The NSA does not target Americans’ location data by design, but the agency acquires a substantial amount of information on the whereabouts of domestic cellphones ‘incidentally,’” according to the Washington Post, which broke the story concerning program based on documents provided by Edward Snowden.

Given that fact, the legal defense that the NSA outlined today for the program could be viewed as underweight. The agency cites Executive Order 12333, issued by then-President Ronald Reagan in 1981. The NSA stated that “the Agency’s EO 12333 collection is outward-facing. We are not intentionally acquiring domestic information through this capability.” The agency also has in place “minimization procedures,” according to its spokesperson.

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