01:05 GMT07 March 2021
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    The US National Security Agency later this month will stop its bulk collection of Americans' telephone records and move to a more targeted system, according to a government memo seen by Reuters.

    The memo, sent on Monday from the NSA to relevant committees in Congress, stated that the spy agency "has successfully developed a technical architecture to support the new program" in time for it to become operational as scheduled on November 29.

    Earlier this year, Congress passed the USA Freedom Act, legislation touted as ending the NSA's indiscriminate gathering of US phone metadata. The law called for a six-month transition period after which the NSA could only access targeted data from telephone providers with judicial approval.

    "While our work is not yet complete, testing of internal systems functionality at both NSA and the telecommunications providers has begun, and exchanges of test files with the providers are under way," the NSA's memo read.

    Earlier on Monday, a federal judge in Washington, DC, ruled that the NSA's bulk collection of phone metadata "likely violates the constitution" and said the agency must cease collecting information.

     

    Edward Snowden, the former NSA contractor who exposed the agency's collection practices in 2013, called the largely symbolic ruling "historic."

    A different panel of judges in a similar case ruled in favor of the NSA in October.

    Tags:
    bulk collection, USA Freedom Act, National Security Agency (NSA), Edward Snowden, US
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