Edward Snowden, who worked for the National Security Agency (NSA), revealed a secret order of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC), that requires Verizon to produce on an “ongoing daily basis … all call detail records or ‘telephony metadata’ created by Verizon for communications (i) between the United States and abroad; or (ii) wholly within the United States, including local telephone calls.”
The government has admitted it collects metadata for all of our telephone communications, but says the data collected does not include the content of the calls.
In response to lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of the program, two federal judges issued dueling opinions about whether it violates the Fourth Amendment’s prohibition on unreasonable searches and seizures.
Judge Richard J. Leon, of the US District Court for the District of Columbia, held that the metadata program probably constitutes an unconstitutional search and seizure. Judge William H. Pauley III, of the US District Court for the Southern District of New York, determined that it does not violate the Fourth Amendment.