December 10, 2013
A new study published by the Center for Internet and Society (CIS) at Stanford Law School suggests that the methods the NSA uses to determine reasonable and articulable suspicion (RAS) of terrorist activity may authorize the agency to examine the call records of more American citizens than previously believed.
The standard for NSA phone record acquisition, as defined by the Foreign Surveillance Intelligence Court, permits analysts to target individuals “three hops” from a terror suspect. In other words, a person who is talking to someone, who is talking to someone, who is talking to the suspect.
The three degrees of separation method used by the NSA sounds innocuous at first. After all, when the population of an entire city is at risk, who has time to gather evidence for a warrant?