Last year, the National Security Agency (NSA) was accused of illegally monitoring the location data of U.S. citizens’ cellphones without authorization, foreign media Outlet The Verge reported. The Office of the Director of National Intelligence said in a letter Thursday that the NSA has quietly stopped the illegal collection of data.
Last year, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in a landmark ruling that authorities could not search people’s electronic device location data without a search warrant. Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR), d-N.Y., cited the ruling and wrote a letter to Dan Coats, then the director of national intelligence, asking how agencies such as the NSA could follow the court’s ruling.
In response to Wyden’s statement, representatives for the office said the agency had stopped collecting data on the location of U.S. citizens’ cell phones without a search warrant. Previously, the agency collected this information under surveillance powers under the Patriot Act. However, since the Supreme Court’s decision, the relevant bodies have stopped the practice, and now they have supported these searches by search warrant slated by the legal criteria for the possible cause.
In a letter to Wyden, intelligence officials wrote that the Supreme Court’s ruling raised “significant constitutional and legal issues” but would not explicitly rule out the use of the tools in the future. “Neither the Department of Justice nor the intelligence community has reached a legal conclusion on this matter,” the letter said. “
Next month, the provisions of the Patriot Act, particularly Section 215, are about to expire, raising questions about potential reforms. “Now that Congress is considering reauthorizing Section 215, it needs to include in formal law a ban on geographic data collection without a search warrant,” Wyden said in a statement. As the past year has shown, Americans don’t have to choose between freedom and security – Congress should reform Section 215 to ensure that we have both. “