NSA phone data collection program over, but what’s next for surveillance?

Kameelah Rashad
FILE - In this Jan. 13, 2015 file photo, Kameelah Rashad demonstrates outside the U.S. Courthouse in Philadelphia. A federal appeals court on Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2015, reinstated a lawsuit challenging the New York Police Department's surveillance of Muslim groups in New Jersey after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, saying any resulting harm came from the city's tactics, not the media's reporting of them.(AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

SPRINGFIELD, Mass.(WWLP) – The next time you make a phone call, you’ll have an added layer of privacy you haven’t had in 14 years.

The National Security Agency can no longer store your phone data that it has collected for a national database since 2001, in an effort to monitor potential terrorists.

NSA contractor and whistleblower Edward Snowden exposed this controversial program in 2013. In January, President Obama said the bulk data collection would end. In June, Congress banned it, giving the NSA a six-month transition period that ended Saturday night.

“I don’t trust the government at all. Why is that? I believe there’s a lot that’s hidden from us and I think that it’s going downhill,” Jamie Buoniconti of Agawam told 22News. She’s not alone in that sentiment. Here’s a startling figure. A new Pew Research poll found in the past few months, only 19 percent of Americans trusted the federal government overall. But when asked specifically if they thought the government did a good job in keeping the country safe from terror, 72 percent approved.

“I think no one wants their privacy to be invaded or their rights to be taken away from them, but we just want to make sure that whatever the government is doing, it’s all doing for the care of the United States and the citizens,” John Griffin of Chicopee told 22News.

However, the end of one surveillance program could mean the start of a new one. Presidential candidates are divided over surveillance for Syrian refugees in the U.S.

“I will absolutely take database of the people coming in from Syria if we can’t stop it, but we’re going to,” Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump has said.

Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton disagreed with that statement. “Who would paint with such a broad brush would want us to somehow isolate, register Muslims…” she said in part.

Under the revised phone surveillance, the NSA must first get a warrant before requesting any information from telecommunications companies. The NSA can retain information collected before the November 28 deadline.

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