Slatest PM: The NSA Is Tracking Millions of Americans' Cellphones

The Slatest
Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Dec. 4 2013 4:26 PM

Slatest PM: The NSA Is Tracking Millions of Americans' Cellphones

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The NSA knows where your phone is.

Photo by SAEED KHAN/AFP/Getty Images

Snowden's Latest: Washington Post: "The National Security Agency is gathering nearly 5 billion records a day on the whereabouts of cellphones around the world, according to top-secret documents and interviews with U.S. intelligence officials, enabling the agency to track the movements of individuals — and map their relationships — in ways that would have been previously unimaginable. The records feed a vast database that stores information about the locations of at least hundreds of millions of devices, according to the officials and the documents, which were provided by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. New projects created to analyze that data have provided the intelligence community with what amounts to a mass surveillance tool."

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Incidental Americans: More: "The NSA does not target Americans’ location data by design, but the agency acquires a substantial amount of information on the whereabouts of domestic cellphones 'incidentally,' a legal term that connotes a foreseeable but not deliberate result. One senior collection manager, speaking on condition of anonymity but with permission from the NSA, said “we are getting vast volumes” of location data from around the world by tapping into the cables that connect mobile networks globally and that serve U.S. cellphones as well as foreign ones. Additionally, data is often collected from the tens of millions of Americans who travel abroad with their cellphones every year."

It's Wednesday, December 4th, welcome to the Slatest PM. Follow your afternoon host on Twitter at @Dan_Gartland, and the whole team at @Slatest.

A Mass Shooting Thwarted?: Connecticut Post: "A mass shooting was averted Tuesday by a prompt police response, according to sources briefed on details of the alleged University of New Haven gunman. A Fairfield man who will be arraigned today on weapons charges after an incident at the University of New Haven had news clippings of mass shootings, police said. West Haven police have charged William Dong, 22, of 1336 Stratfield Road in Fairfield, with illegal possession of an assault weapon, transporting an assault weapon, illegal possession of a weapon in a motor vehicle and breach of peace... Several items were collected from his home, including numerous pistol magazines, ammunition, and newspaper clippings of mass shootings, said Sgt. David Tammaro of the West Haven police."

Poll: Young Americans Disappointed by Obama: Reuters: "Young Americans are unhappy with virtually every major thing President Barack Obama has done since he was re-elected, but they would still vote for him today, according to the results of a Harvard University survey released on Wednesday. The national poll by Harvard's Institute of Politics of more than 2,000 people aged 18 through 29 is intended to provide insight into the political views of the youngest U.S. voters. This increasingly influential demographic known as the 'millennial generation' has been a traditional base of Obama's support. More than 50 percent of respondents in the survey, taken between October 30 and November 11, said they disapproved of how the Democratic president handled key issues in his second term, including Syria, Iran, the economy, healthcare and the federal budget deficit."

Multi-Tasking: Reuters: "Seeking to recover from the bungled rollout of his healthcare reforms, President Barack Obama went back to basics on Wednesday with a renewed focus on government policies that benefit the struggling poor and middle classes. 'The combined trends of increased inequality and decreasing mobility pose a fundamental threat to the American dream, our way of life, and what we stand for around the globe,' he said. With his job approval ratings sinking, Obama sought to promote some of the ideals he has championed throughout his presidency. The Democratic president cast his political agenda in terms of a broad fight to improve economic opportunity in ways that benefit all Americans."

Well That Answers That Question: NBC News: "U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) said Wednesday that she will not run for president in 2016. 'I'm not running for president, and I plan to serve out my term,' she said at a press conference in Boston. ... Democrats have highlighted Warren as a viable and more-liberal alternative to Hillary Clinton for the 2016 Democratic nomination."

LAX Shooter Has First Court Date: Los Angeles Times: "The 23-year-old accused of perpetrating a shooting rampage at Los Angeles International Airport made his first court appearance Wednesday, facing a murder charge in the slaying of a security screener. Paul Anthony Ciancia appeared before a judge in a courtroom inside the Rancho Cucamonga jail, where he is being held while recovering from gunshot wounds he suffered when airport police were trying to apprehend him. In the brief arraignment hearing, the judge denied bail, citing the potential of him being a flight risk and a danger to the community."

Arizona Agency Fined in Death of Firefighters: Associated Press: Arizona's workplace safety agency on Wednesday recommended that the state Forestry Division pay a nearly $560,000 fine in the deaths of 19 firefighters. The citations proposed by the Arizona Division of Occupational Safety and Health say forestry officials managing the Yarnell Hill Fire placed the protection of structures and pastureland above firefighter safety. The proposals also say that downwind crews weren't removed when suppression became ineffective.

That's all for today. See you back here tomorrow. Until then, tell your friends to subscribe or simply forward the newsletter on and let them make up their own minds.