As NSA data collection from Verizon Wireless is defended this morning by no less than the office of the President of the United States, actor Wil Wheaton and top Android hacker/developer Koushik Dutta have announced their departure from the carrier. The order in question was revealed yesterday, having originated from the FBI and passed down to the public media by an anonymous source.
The order shows how the National Security Agency uses Verizon specifically to mine records of phone calls, numbers, and everything in-between for data. Data such as “unique identifiers” – unspecified beyond that, call length, number of individuals on each call, and more are collected per the order.
What’s more, this court order is not an all-encompassing mandate, nor is it a far-expired timeframe. Instead, this surveillance is taking place now and will be going on until July 19th at least. According to the AP this morning, the White House has made it clear that this monitoring was “a critical tool in protecting the nation from terrorist threats”.
The AP chat with the White House also turned up the notion that “the order reprinted in the article”, that being the one sent to The Guardian yesterday, “does not allow the government to listen in on anyone’s telephone calls.”
That did not appear to be enough for Android developer Koushik Dutta, known widely as “Koush”, aka the creator of the app ROM Manager and developer for CyanogenMod. Sharing the news with the Google+ community, Koush noted, simply: “Sigh. Cancelling my Verizon lines
tomorrow right now.”
Tabletop Gamer / actor / infamous Star Trek crew member Wil Wheaton took a bit more of a stand on the issue, suggesting on Google+ that there be a mass exit of users from Verizon to send them a message.
“I’ve been a Verizon customer for almost a decade, and I’m canceling tomorrow, taking all my personal and business lines somewhere else. I encourage you to do the same, so there is a mass exodus from Verizon — I’m talking in the tens of thousands if not more — to signal to wireless providers that we as consumers won’t tolerate this type of behaviour.” – Wil Wheaton
Responding to the suggestion that it’s not only Verizon, but carriers nation-wide here in the United States that work with the NSA for data drag-netting, Wheaton suggested that “it’s likely, but at this point what I know for a fact is that Verizon is dumping my data to the feds. Since I know that for a fact, I’m terminating my contract with that company.”
At the moment Verizon has made no official comment on the situation, nor has the NSA or any other mobile carrier in the United States. Stay tuned as monitoring the masses continues.