Annual Surveillance Report Reveals Upturn in U.S. Persons Call Record Searches, Unmasking

April 30, 2019

According to the Office of Director National Intelligence 2018 report, the use of information on U.S. persons collected under Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act increased. The instances in which the NSA "unmasked" – revealed a U.S. person's identity in foreign intelligence data – to another agency grew from 9,529 to 16,721. In 2018, the government also searched domestic call detail records for U.S. persons at five times the rate in 2017, rising from 31,196 to 164,682. Notably, the government notifications to defendants of the use of FISA information in criminal proceedings increased from 7 in 2017 to 14 in 2018. EPIC previously testified before Congress on the need for more public reporting about the use of FISA for domestic surveillance. Several of EPIC's recommendations, including greater detail on government surveillance activities, were incorporated in the USA Freedom Act.

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