Ed McFadden, a Washington-based Verizon spokesman, declined to comment on the matter. It is unclear whether other cell phone providers were also issued a similar order.
The order should expire on July 19 unless it is renewed. Section 215 of the Patriot Act allows the government to collect a variety of information without a warrant in the interest of national security, including expense reports and telephone records.
The EFF has long said the government hides behind Section 215 and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act in order to violate privacy.
“It’s time to start the national dialogue about our rights in the digital age,” said the EFF website. “It’s time to end the NSA’s unconstitutional domestic surveillance program.”
Cohn said the Verizon order affects “millions and millions of innocent people. There’s no way all of our calling records are relevant to a terrorism investigation.”
She added: “I don’t think the government’s been getting away with this because everybody thinks they’re right.” Instead it is because “they’ve kept the details sufficiently secret” to avoid public dissent.