Generally speaking, whatever the U.S. government wants, the U.S. government will get— and obtaining information from U.S. wireless carriers is no exception. In a classified court order obtained by the folks at The Guardian, the National Security Administration (NSA) requested call detail on all Verizon Wireless customers. The court order specifically highlights the NSA wants all call data within the U.S. and abroad— so the requested call log data isn’t just limited to phone calls made to numbers within the mainland U.S— while also looking for specific identifiers such as a device’s IMEI number, trunk identifier and of course, the time and duration of any given call. So in essence, the government will pretty much have an open book full of sensitive information that could allow it to more easily keep an eye on select customers.
What’s surprising is that the NSA clearly intended that this court order should not be disclosed to the general public, with no apparent reason. Perhaps the NSA is trying to use the court order to get a leg up on any potential threats to the general public, but this is a potentially troubling decision that has been made. Here’s hoping that not too much will come out of this recent news.