The National Security Agency is gathering nearly 5 billion records a day on the whereabouts of cellphones around the world, according to top-secret documents and interviews with U.S. intelligence officials, enabling the agency to track the movements of individuals — and map their relationships — in ways that would have been previously unimaginable.
The records feed a vast database that stores information about the locations of at least hundreds of millions of devices, according to the officials and the documents, which were provided by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. New projects created to analyze that data have provided the intelligence community with what amounts to a mass surveillance tool.While the NSA says that its program is designed to collect information on phone locations in other countries, it admits that a "substantial amount" of information on domestic phones is "incidentally" collected.
The BBC covers the story here. At Just Security, Jennifer Granick and Thomas Earnest react, criticizing the program and its low oversight, and concluding that these revelations reveal that we live in a "panopticon world."