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surveyork
12:32

A report released Tuesday synthesizes much of what Americans have been learning about piecemeal for the last few months: The U.S. government collects vast amounts of data from millions of American citizens who are not suspected of any wrongdoing.

The 80-page report, published by New York University School of Law’s Brennan Center for Justice, surveys the legal landscape that allows the federal government to collect and store data about Americans’ Internet activities, computer files, email and phone metadata, travel records and other information – often without a warrant or suspicion of criminal activity.

While the data collection is usually performed under the banner of increased security, the report concludes that there is little proof the practice has made the country safer, and that the programs have weakened Americans’ civil liberties.

“Having these storehouses (of data) begs for abuse, either now or down the line,” the study’s author, Rachel Levinson-Waldman, told Al Jazeera. “That's always one of the dangers, and we know that from our history.”

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