22:31 GMT21 February 2020
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    Washington extended the debated metadata collection practice until June 1, 2015.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — The United Stated reauthorized its controversial telephone metadata collection program until June 1, 2015, a joint statement from the Department of Justice and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) says.

    "DNI James R. Clapper declassified the fact that the government filed an application with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) to reauthorize the existing program until June 1, 2015, and that the FISC issued an order approving the government's application," the statement said.

    US President Barack Obama announced earlier that the government should not hold the data in bulk, but instead, telephone companies would hold it with a legal mechanism to allow the government to obtain the data determined by the individual orders from the FISC. However, the president's proposal requires new legislation enacted by Congress.

    "To date, the Congress has failed to pass legislation to implement these important reforms," the White House said in a statement on Friday.

    "Congress has a limited window before the June 1 sunset to enact legislation that would implement the President's proposed path forward for the telephony metadata program, while preserving key intelligence authorities," the statement added, saying that the White House is ready to work with Congress on such legislation.

    By June 2015, a number of sections in the US Patriot Act will expire, including the provision that authorized the US National Security Agency (NSA) to carry out bulk collection of Americans' telephone records, which was authorized following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

    The telephone metadata collection program was first revealed by whistleblower Edward Snowden, who released secret files proving that US spy agencies like NSA collect telephone data on US citizens.

    That revelation created widespread backlash at a practice that infringes on US citizens' privacy, prompting the administration to call for limits on the practice.

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    Tags:
    metadata, surveillance, Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC), DNI, US Department of Justice, United States
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