US cellcos face $60m hit over NSA reform

Dylan Bushell-Embling
13 Jan 2014
Daily News

A proposal to limit the powers of the US NSA to access domestic phone records could cost the nation's mobile operators as much as $60 million per year, a top senator is warning.

Bloombergquotes Senator Dianne Feinstein, chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, as arguing that it would be too costly for mobile operators to retain mobile metadata for the NSA.

An independent panel appointed by the Obama administration to review the NSA's surveillance programs in light of the recent Edward Snowden leaks has recommended that the agency be prohibited from collecting bulk phone records from operators.

It instead recommends that mobile operators store the call data, and that the NSA should only be allowed to access the information with a court record.

But besides the additional expenses associated with storing the data, such a proposal could expose operators to all kinds of liability issues, not to mention data requests from attorneys and private detectives in civil cases, Senator Feinstein argued.

Wireless industry body CITA has already confirmed to Bloomberg that it will oppose any mandate that would require operators to retain more metadata.

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