What Can the N.S.A. do With Cell Phone and Internet Data?

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There is growing outrage at the revelation this week that the Obama administration required Verizon Business to provide call data on their customers. The idea that the government can access private data in a blanket fashion is cause for concern for many.

Yesterday, Attorney General Eric Holder testified in front of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee. In response to questions from Senators about collection of the phone records, he said:

“Members of Congress have been fully briefed as these issues, matters have been underway."

John Cutter, formerly with the NYPD’s Criminal Intelligence Section on issues of counterterrorism, explains why the NSA is seeking these large amounts of call data.

The NSA’s collection of data is not limited phones. The Guardian broke the story that the NSA is mining user internet data via sites like Google, Facebook, and Apple for audio and video chats, emails, documents, pictures and more.

Douglas Rushkoff, author of "Program or Be Programmed: Ten Commands for a Digital Age," isn't surprised by the news. He's also the author of, "Present Shock: When Everything Happens Now."