(ZH) — The National Security Agency (NSA) has reportedly abandoned part of their infamous surveillance apparatus exposed by former contractor Edward Snowden, and used for the mass collection of Americans' communications records; including phone logs, metadata and text messages.
The New York Times noted that House minority leader national security adviser Luke Murry told The Lawfare Podcast that the NSA "hasn't actually been using it for the past six months," and that he's "not certain that the [Trump] administration will want to start that back up" (despite collecting 530 million US phone records in 2017)
Keep in mind, the NYT report isn't claiming the NSA has abandoned other programs such as XKeyscore – which the agency uses to search and analyze global internet data. When asked by German broadcaster Norddeutscher Rundfunk "What could you do if you would use XKeyscore?" Edward Snowden replied:
You could read anyone's email in the world, anybody you've got an email address for. Any website: You can watch traffic to and from it. Any computer that an individual sits at: You can watch it. Any laptop that you're tracking: you can follow it as it moves from place to place throughout the world. It's a one-stop-shop for access to the NSA's information.
… You can tag individuals … Let's say you work at a major German corporation and I want access to that network, I can track your username on a website on a form somewhere, I can track your real name, I can track associations with your friends and I can build what's called a fingerprint, which is network activity unique to you, which means anywhere you go in the world, anywhere you try to sort of hide your online presence, your identity. –Edward Snowden
Of note, former Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, was caught lying to Congress about the NSA's bulk data collection. In response to a 2013 question by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) "Does the NSA collect any type of data at all on millions, or hundreds of millions, of Americans?," Clapper replied: "No sir, not wittingly."