Report: NSA Recording International Telephone Calls

Today, the Washington Post reported that the National Security Agency (NSA) has “built a surveillance system capable of recording ’100 percent’ of a foreign country’s telephone calls, enabling the agency to rewind and review conversations as long as a month after they take place.” The NSA has already recorded 100% of the telephone calls from one country, according to the article, which is based on documents revealed by Edward Snowden. The program is named MYSTIC. The Center for Democracy & Technology (CDT) released the following statement in response:

“This further exposes the NSA’s capacity and willingness to monitor the private lives of American citizens and innocent people around the world with shockingly limited restraint,” said Greg Nojeim, CDT Director of Freedom, Security and Technology. “It’s clear that U.S. law is not up to the task of controlling the NSA’s surveillance programs, especially those directed at people abroad.”

“Recording the phone conversations of entire nations sweeps up the communication of any American calling the targeted countries, for whom there are inadequate privacy protections. This program further exposes the real limits of the President’s proposed government surveillance reforms, which still allow for mass surveillance. It’s time for the United States to begin honoring its global human rights obligations and enact legal reforms that set reasonable limits on foreign surveillance practices,” Nojeim added.