4 million, that's the number of phone calls and text messages collected by the US National Security Agency last year. A staggering figure, more than three times the 154 million record Records gathered in 2016. The report released Friday, reviews a new surveillance system established in 2015, after lawmakers passed a measure aiming to limit the NSA's ability to collect phone records in bulk.
The 2017 data pales in comparison to the estimated billions of records collected daily under the spy agency's old surveillance system, which was exposed by Edward Snowden in 2013. Still the report has some privacy advocates worried. Concerned the government could be overreaching and intruding into the lives of citizens.
The records obtained by the spy agency from phone providers include the numbers, time, and duration of the calls, but not the content. NSA officials have also said that the tally may seem inflated, as it also includes multiple calls made to or from the same phone number. Friday's data also showed a rise in the number of foreigners living outside the United States who were targeted under a warrantless internet surveillance program known as Section 702 that Congress renewed earlier this year.