The NSA has been caught in a wave of criticism, yet again, with news that they are tracking locations of mobile phones across the globe.
The National Security Agency, allegedly, collects large volumes of information on phone calls made in all continents. 5 billion location records are collected daily, with many of them retrieved from mobile phones of their own citizens.
The information collected is submitted into a database that now contains information of hundreds of millions of devices spanning across the planet.
The primary reason for this intrusion, the NSA explains, is that they are monitoring the travel patterns of suspected terrorists, in addition to uncovering potential terrorist plots according to locations visited across the world.
As stated in the documents released by Edward Snowden, they have stated that they are not committing any crimes according to US law and the single reason for monitoring cellphones is to prevent terrorist plots.
Documents that Snowden has been releasing is continuously causing shock and outrage from the global population. Amnesty International’s director of the United States’ Security and Human Rights, Zeke Johnson, said in a statement, “How many revelations of NSA surveillance will it take for Congress to act? Today’s news is the latest startling blow to the right to privacy.”
The public has called to both Democratic and Republican representatives to deal with this matter in Congress once and for all.
However, the NSA claims that the algorithms their technology uses goes through large quantities of data and selects only information that are indicative of suspicious activity. Once a target is detected the software will continue to monitor the selected device. Information that is deemed unworthy by the system is discarded.
Although this method of tracking suspects is not uncommon, doing so on such a grand scale was previously unheard of. One of the methods used to track an assumed criminal in an investigation is to monitor phone usage and locate the device based on its proximity to surrounding cell towers.
The American Civil Liberties Union explained how such a grand scheme of privacy invasion is a great cause for unrest in public opinion. In addition, their statement called this revelation highly disturbing particularly as, “a substantial number of Americans having their movements recorded by the government.”
Unfortunately, although the public is uncomfortable with this practice, the NSA have not broken any laws within the United States and therefore the program will not be discontinued.