NSA’s phone monitoring might not be as widespread as previously thought

The NSA’s phone monitoring and collection policies might not be quite as widespread as previously thought, if new reports in the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post are to be believed. According to their sources, 20-30 percent of call metadata is logged, and the majority of mobile phones are excluded from the government’s information dragnet.

The National Security Agency’s collection of phone data, at the center of the controversy over U.S. surveillance operations, gathers information from about 20% or less of all U.S. calls—much less than previously thought, according to people familiar with the NSA program. The program had been described as collecting records on almost every phone call placed in the U.S. But, in fact, it doesn’t collect records for most cellphones, the fastest-growing sector in telephony and an area where the agency has struggled to keep pace, the people said.

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