The Guardian newspaper revealed the second largest phone company in the U.S., Verizon, is handing over millions of private phone records to government agencies. Authorized by the Patriot Act, the order came from a secret court overseeing foreign and domestic surveillance, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. Experts say this is the tip of the iceberg, and the government collects far more information on American citizens than is revealed. We explore the legal, political and privacy issues around domestic surveillance.
Authorizing Domestic Surveillance
Many Americans were shocked by the Guardian's recent revelations that the N.S.A. and F.B.I. are secretly poring over millions of private phone records. But Philip Bump, from the Atlantic Wire, reminds us that Congress has consistently voted to expand the government's authority to conduct domestic surveillance. Bump compares the voting records of members of Congress. Below, we took his database and ranked the skepticism of Maryland and Virginia congress members (as measured by number of "no" votes"):
The amended data-set is available here