Local civil liberties group speaks out about NSA data collection

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ALBANY, N.Y. — Under a top
secret court order issued back in April, one of the nation's largest phone
providers handed over the data of phone calls millions of Americans were
making.

“The President in this particular
instance had full approval from FISC, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance
Court and he had full approval from US congress,” said Professor Leonard Cutler.

Cutler wrote a book on the topic
of wireless investigations in a post 9-11 world.

“Very definitely there is not the
privacy that we expect or anticipate or for that matter thought we had,” he
said.

“There is a law that allows the
NSA and government agencies to look at people's phone records but there's gotta
be a reason for it,” said Senator Chuck Schumer.

The court order, obtained by the
UK's Guardian newspaper, requires Verizon to give the National Security Agency information
on all telephone calls on a daily basis regardless of whether anyone is
suspected of doing any wrong doing.

“Civil liberties union is alarmed
but not really surprised,” said Melani Trimble with the New York Civil
Liberties Union's Capital Region chapter.

She says they hope to investigate
the matter further to reign in what they call unconstitutional surveillance by
the government.

“To feel like you are being spied
on in America just such a strange and outrageous thing for American to feel,”
she said.

Under the order, numbers of both
the caller and person receiving the call is handed over by Verizon, along with
location data, length of the call, but the contents of the conversation are not
examined. Senator Chuck Schumer wants to find out more.

“If it's a fishing expedition we
ought to be limiting the government as to who's records they are looking at,”
Schumer added.

Cutler doesn't believe wireless
surveillance is going to go away anytime soon.

“I fully expect we will have an
expansion of wireless surveillance,” he said.

The court order for Verizon
expires July 19th, 2013.

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