WASHINGTON (Sputnik) – The US National Security Agency (NSA) will delete bulk telephone data collected under the program that was proclaimed illegal in May, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) said in a statement.
"As soon as possible, NSA will destroy the Section 215 bulk telephony metadata upon expiration of its litigation preservation obligations,” the statement said on Monday.
The US government used Section 215 of the USA Patriot Act as a legal basis to justify its mass surveillance programs, which expired on June 1.
The legislation was replaced by the USA Freedom Act, which according to the White House represents a compromise by strengthening privacy while preserving the authority for intelligence and law enforcement agencies to collect intelligence.
The ODNI has determined that access to collected phone data will cease on November 29, 2015. Nevertheless, the office said it would allow NSA’s technical personnel to access the data for three more months “to verify the records” produced under the USA Freedom Act.
In addition, the NSA will preserve collected metadata until court cases surrounding the controversial program are finalized.
“The telephony metadata preserved solely because of preservation obligations in pending civil litigation will not be used or accessed for any other purpose,” the statement said.
US intelligence services came under increased scrutiny for their mass surveillance program after NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden leaked classified documents revealing the scope of US global spying programs.