More information and some commentary from Infosecurity Magazine
‘Beyond Orwellian’ – the FBI and NSA spy on all Americans
The Guardian newspaper has exposed a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) ‘top secret’ order requiring Verizon to provide the NSA with all ‘telephony metadata’ for communications within the USA and between the USA and abroad.
The Guardian invited the White House, the NSA and the Justice Department to comment prior to publication of its report. All declined. Verizon, which is prohibited from disclosing either the FBI request or the order, responded “We decline comment.”
Telephony metadata is effectively the ‘traffic data’ described and sought by the UK’s Communications Data Bill: it is everything, including mobile phone location data, barring the actual content of the communication (which requires a separate court order in the US, and would require similar under the Communications Data Bill). The FISC order, requested by the FBI, is granted under 50 USC § 1861; otherwise known as section 215 of the Patriot Act.