NSA confirms pilot program that tried to track cell phone location data

The director of the National Security Agency, Gen. Keith Alexander, and James R. Clapper, the director of national intelligence, confirmed that in 2010 and 2011 the NSA conducted a secret pilot program to test the collection of bulk data about the location of Americans' cell phones. The spy agency never went ahead with the program, which was first reported Wednesday by the New York Times and then later confirmed by the officials at a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee on proposed reforms to the NSA's surveillance of phone and Internet usage. The project used data from cell towers to locate people's phones, but Alexander said at the hearing that the NSA did not use the data collected and does not use that capability now, according to CBS News. Last week, Alexander refused to answer questions from Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) about whether the NSA had ever collected or planned to collect such cell-site data, saying it was classified. The New York Times reported it "was unclear how many Americans' locational data was collected as part of the project, whether the agency has held on to that information or why the program did not go forward." Article

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