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In Test Project, N.S.A. Tracked Cellphone Locations

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CHARLIE SAVAGE
NY Times
October 3, 2013

WASHINGTON — The National Security Agency conducted a secret pilot project in 2010 and 2011 to test the collection of bulk data about the location of Americans’ cellphones, but the agency never moved ahead with such a program, according to intelligence officials.

The existence of the pilot project was reported on Wednesday morning by The New York Times and later confirmed by James R. Clapper, the director of national intelligence, at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing. The project used data from cellphone towers to locate people’s cellphones.

In his testimony, Mr. Clapper revealed few details about the project. He said that the N.S.A. does not currently collect locational information under Section 215 of the Patriot Act, the provision the government says is the legal basis for the N.S.A.’s once-secret program under which it collects logs of all domestic calls from telephone companies.

“In 2010 and 2011, N.S.A. received samples in order to test the ability of its systems to handle the data format, but that data was not used for any other purpose and was never available for intelligence analysis purposes,” Mr. Clapper said.

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This article was posted: Thursday, October 3, 2013 at 4:31 am





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