The NSA has always denied that it tracks mobile phone location data as part of its survelliance program. But The New York Times has revealed that the agency has actually secretly tested this type of bulk data collection and it has done so more than once.
These secret tests allegedly took place in 2010 and again in 2011. The data was real samples taken from American wireless customers and was supposed to “test the ability” of the NSA’s systems. It is not known how many US citizens have been involved and the NSA has not said whether it has kept the resulting data.
Last week Senator Ron Wynden asked NSA director General Keith Alexander whether the agency had ever collected location data in bulk. Alexander denied that the NSA received site information under the Patriot Act and added that it “has no current plans to do so.”
He added that more detail would be provided through classified data given to the Senate Intelligence Committee, which has sparked concerns that the NSA monitors location through some other legal justfication.
It is known that wireless carriers are able to track our every move and these reports only confirm that the NSA has at least experimented using them.
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