Callie Paxton

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Video: Privacy Rights Questioned

COLUMBUS, Miss, (WCBI)  Verizon wireless and numerous other cellular companies have been under fire in the last week for giving their customers records to the national government.

American citizens have responded with confusion, and anger, but mostly there are still a lot of unanswered questions.

“I think we should be able to petition the government to stop this invasion of citizens right,” said Kimberly Madsen.

Recent discoveries have informed Americans that aren’t the only ones with access to their personal channels of communication.

The Federal Government received permission through a secret court order in April to use daily updates from Verzion Wireless phone records to help catch terrorists.

NSA officials are saying the practice is “perfectly legal”, but many Americans are still left wondering what exactly the data is being used for.

“Until the government is able to be forthcoming about some of the details of what’s going on I think most citizens, including myself, are going to be dissatisfied with being ‘spied upon’,” said student Wilson West.

Since the Patriot Act of 2001 was signed by George W. Bush, law enforcement agencies have seen fewer restrictions in regards to gathering personal data.

This includes phone calls, internet searches, and even financial statements. A political science professor at Mississippi States says this is a trend we should not expect to see decline.

“When power expands it never contracts. Once that power is taken, it is taken for granted by future generations,” said Rob Mellon.
The Federal Government defends electronic tracking as efficient way to locate terrorists.

Computer experts say the only way to avoid leaving your footprints behind would be to not leave any at all. This means no Facebook, twitter, or email.

“I think this is simply another indication of the way president power, executive power, has expanded throughout the centuries,” said Mellon.

The court order that requires Verzion release their phone records to the NSA will expire on July 19.

Communication records that are being collected are recorded in bulk, regardless of any expected wrongdoing.