The National Security Agency (NSA) on Friday announced it has been deleting hundreds of millions of records of phone calls and text messages dating back to 2015.
Due to "technical irregularities" in its data, the agency said, it possessed certain records it had no authority to receive. As of May 23, the NSA began deleting all of this type of records that were collected after 2015 under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), just to be safe.
"Because it was infeasible to identify and isolate properly produced data, NSA concluded that it should not use any of the [call detail records]. Consequently, NSA, in consultation with the Department of Justice and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, decided that the appropriate course of action was to delete all" records collected u, the NSA said in a statement.
The NSA is authorized to collect certain data from telecom companies under Title V of FISA and through the USA Freedom Act of 2015. Under the Freedom Act, bulk data about U.S. phone calls and text messages remains in the hands of telecom companies. The NSA is only permitted to collect very specific data, such as call records of surveillance targets and their contacts or of those suspected of terrorism, according to the New York Times.
Read the NSA's full statement below.