NSA tripled surveillance of phone records, collected over 534 million records in 2017

The NSA gobbled up more than three times as many records of phone calls and text messages of Americans last year than it did in 2016, according to a transparency report released by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI). The fifth annual report (pdf), released last week, revealed that the NSA collected 534 million call records of Americans in 2017; that’s up sharply from the 151 million records collected in 2016, which was the first full year after the USA Freedom Act surveillance rules kicked in.

Why the NSA tripled its domestic surveillance in 2017 was not explained, but ODNI spokesman Timothy Barrett told Reuters, “We expect this number to fluctuate from year to year.” He added that the NSA “has not altered the manner in which it uses its authority to obtain call detail records.”

Read more about the transparency report revealing a significant spike in NSA’s surveillance of call and text records on CSO.