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Report: NSA doesn't collect citizens' geolocation data because it would cost too much

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The NSA has the authority to get the gelocation info from your phone, but it chooses not to exercise it, reports The Wall Street Journal. Citing a statement from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), it writes that the NSA program doesn’t collect "any cell phone locational information." An unnamed official stated that location data doesn’t provide enough intelligence to justify the amount of resources that would be required to manage it.

Earlier this month, a leaked secret court order exposed a secret NSA intelligence program for compiling "telephony metadata" such as time and duration of calls, IMEI numbers, and "comprehensive communications routing information," the latter of which could be used to track individual users’ physical location. At a Congressional hearing last week, FBI Director Robert Mueller testified that phone surveillance data could only be used for terrorism investigations. But the dragnet’s efficacy at producing actionable intelligence is still unknown — NSA director Keith Alexander testified that it has helped to prevent "dozens" of terrorism incidents, but so far his office hasn’t produced any specific figures.