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White House unveils plan to end NSA's bulk collection of phone data

WASHINGTON (Reuters) — The Obama administration on Thursday announced details of its plan to end the government’s vast bulk collection of data about phone calls made in the United States, including new procedures to get judicial approval before asking companies for such records.

Under the plan, phone companies would have to provide data from their records quickly and in a usable format when requested by the government, a senior administration official told reporters on condition of anonymity.

The plan would also allow the government to seek such data without a court order in a national security emergency. But some U.S. officials who examined the president’s proposals said they left important issues unresolved.

Under the Administration’s plan, instead of telephone metadata being collected and stored in bulk from telephone companies by the National Security Agency, companies themselves would hold the data and be required to respond to specific, court-approved queries about it from the NSA.

However, officials familiar with current laws and regulations governing how telephone companies handle such data said that Obama’s plan raises, but does not answer, significant practical questions about how companies would collect and store such data.

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