Congress extends NSA call records collection powers to March

In passing a short-term funding bill to avoid a U.S. government shutdown, Congress has also extended the government’s legal powers allowing it to collect daily millions of Americans’ call records. Buried in a funding bill passed by the House this week was a clause that extended the government’s so-called Section 215 powers, which allow the National Security Agency to compel phone providers to turn over daily logs — known as “metadata” — of their customers’ calls, including their phone numbers, when the call was made and the call’s duration. The program is designed to allow intelligence analysts to sift through vast amounts of data to identify links between suspected terrorists. But the program also collects millions of wholly domestic phone …