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It's Never Too Late to Think about NSA's CDR Collection Program

Susan Landau shares an overview of her recent paper on three critical issues in the NSA's collection of CDRs, via Lawfare.


I'm pleased to announce the publication of Examining the Anomalies, Explaining the Value: Should the USA FREEDOM Act's Metadata Program be Extended? in the Harvard National Security Journal. The USA FREEDOM Act (UFA) was passed two years after Edward Snowden's disclosure of the NSA's bulk collection of domestic Call Detail Records (CDRs). Much controversy ensued. UFA's passage was intended to improve Americans' privacy by having CDRs remain at the telephone service providers unless the government had an order approved by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court for collection. In that case, the government would be able to receive CDRs within "two hops" of the original request. But the law did not work out as well as was hoped. Collection was high: 151 and 534 million CDRs in 2016 and 2017 respectively. Then in 2018 the NSA abruptly announced that it was purging several years of records due to technical irregularities. The agency indicated it was not interested in continuing the CDR program.

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