A secret U.S. court overseeing government surveillance programs denied a phone company’s legal challenge contending that it shouldn’t be required to give calling records to the National Security Agency.
The company, whose name was redacted in the order, cited a court ruling in December that the NSA’s bulk collection of phone records probably violates the U.S. Constitution. It asked the court to “vacate, modify, or reaffirm” an order to turn over the records.
The U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court denied the company’s challenge in the order released today and dated March 20. That means the unidentified carrier is required to turn over records that include numbers dialed and length of calls without content of conversations.
“Properly viewed on a user-by-user basis, the NSA telephony metadata program is consistent with Supreme Court precedent, which time and technology have not affected,” U.S. District Judge Rosemary Collyer wrote in the order.
The NSA’s collection of phone records from Verizon Communications Inc. was exposed last year by former government contractor Edward Snowden, who’s facing federal espionage charges and living in Russia under temporary asylum. President Barack Obama and members of Congress have said they plan to alter the phone-data program by requiring carriers, rather than the NSA, to retain the records.
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