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Court filing reveals secret database of phone records kept by Justice Department

The database is no longer in use.

By
Thor Benson
Edward Snowden on the cover of Wired. (Wired/Platon)
Edward Snowden on the cover of Wired. (Wired/Platon)

WASHINGTON, Jan. 17 (UPI) -- A court filing made Thursday has revealed there was a large, secret database of phone records related to international calls used by the Justice Department until 2013.

The case concerns a man accused of attempting to export electronics to Iran, the Wall Street Journal reports.

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The database only stored metadata, which is the information regarding what phone number is calling where, when the call took place and the duration of the call. The content of the calls was not stored. The data was collected for the Drug Enforcement Administration to be able to monitor calls made by U.S. citizens connecting with people in countries "determined to have a demonstrated nexus to international drug trafficking and related criminal activities."

The National Security Agency (NSA) collects the same kind of metadata records and more using programs revealed by NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

The Justice Department claims all data stored in the newly revealed database has been deleted.

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