The Daily Beast

U.S. Intelligence Agencies: We Stopped Collecting Your Phone’s Location Data Without Probable Cause


U.S. intelligence agencies have stopped collecting cell-phone location data without a warrant on people inside the United States, the office of the director of national intelligence has affirmed. 

But in a new letter to Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), sent on Nov. 12 and obtained by The Daily Beast, the office of the director of national intelligence stops short of affirming that a Supreme Court decision prevents them from acquiring the sensitive cell-location data pursuant warrantlessly under a key section of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). That provision, known alternatively as Section 215 of the PATRIOT Act and Title V of FISA, expires next month unless Congress actively reauthorizes it.

It’s the latest maneuver in a perennial clash between the intelligence agencies and their overseers over how tightly privacy laws constrain non-criminal surveillance, particularly as the ubiquity of surveillance-relevant technology advances. 

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