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Phone records could end up at NSA’s Utah Data Center

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Lee Tien, a senior staff attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which has fought in court for years over spying on Americans, says the Utah Data Center will be a big reminder for residents about NSA’s collection of their phone records.

"I think it’s a jarring thing for anyone, but especially for Utahns to the extent of having to see something that your congressional delegation said, ‘Yes we want this here,’" Tien said. "It’s a little different for those who are in the state where it may be the case that the vast surveillance apparatus actually" is located.

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Patterns » This isn’t the first time the NSA has been thrust into the spotlight for questions about broad domestic prying. USA Today reported in 2006 that the agency had been collecting phone records from major carriers to search for patterns that suggest terrorist activity. Administration officials stressed Thursday that only phone data was collected, and not the content of the calls.

Still, Aftergood, the director of the Project on Government Secrecy, says the fact that the U.S. government for some time has been gathering records of Americans’ phone calls changes the "texture of American life."

"It means that we are always under surveillance," Aftergood says.

"Even our most private and intimate communications may be tracked by the government."


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