The US National Security Agency. Photo: AFP
The US National Security Agency (NSA) is collecting telephone records of millions of US citizens under a secret court order issued in April, according to a report.
Citing a copy of the court order, which The Guardian said it had obtained, the report said US telco Verizon is required on an "ongoing, daily basis" to give the NSA data on all phone calls in its network within the US and between the US and other countries.
The NSA said it had no immediate comment and Verizon spokesman Ed McFadden declined to comment.
The Guardian said the White House and the US Department of Justice declined to comment for its story.
According to the story, the secret US Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court granted the order to the FBI on April 25, giving the US government unlimited authority to access the data for a three-month period ending on July 19.
The data Verizon is required to provide includes the numbers of both sides of a call along with location data, call duration and the time of the call but the contents of the conversation are not covered, according to the story.
The NSA has previously been criticised for its domestic surveillance. In 2006, it was revealed that the agency had assembled the world's largest database of telephone records, tracking the calls of millions of customers of US telcos AT&T, Verizon and BellSouth. It was reported at the time that the secret program was launched shortly after the September 11 attacks in 2001, in an effort to detect terrorist activity.
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