A court in California has prohibited the destruction of phone records collected by the government until further orders, raising a potential conflict with an order last week by the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court in Washington, D.C.
Judge Jeffrey S. White of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California ordered Monday the retention of the call details in two lawsuits that have challenged the U.S. National Security Agency’s program for the collection of telephone metadata.
A number of lawsuits challenging the NSA program have been filed by privacy and other groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union and the First Unitarian Church of Los Angeles. The NSA’s former contractor, Edward Snowden, disclosed in June last year that the government was collecting phone records in bulk of U.S. customers of Verizon. The government subsequently confirmed the existence of the controversial surveillance program.