TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - Documents leaked to the Washington Post by former NSA contractor and whistleblower Edward Snowden reveal that the National Security Agency (NSA) tracks the locations of up to five million mobile phones worldwide.
The NSA is "getting vast volumes" of location data from people around the world, said one anonymous employee, even though the agency does not target Americans in the United States, the Washington Post reports. However, the NSA does gather a substantial amount of data on Americans "incidentally" in its monitoring of global mobile phone networks that support U.S. and foreign traffic, as well as the mobile phones of Americans traveling overseas.
"The dragnet surveillance of hundreds of millions of cell phones flouts our international obligation to respect the privacy of foreigners and Americans alike," ACLU Staff Attorney Catherine Crump told Time. "The government should be targeting its surveillance at those suspected of wrongdoing, not assembling massive associational databases that by their very nature record the movements of a huge number of innocent people."
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