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Government's Access To Cell Phone Records Leaves Privacy Advocates Fuming

By Ian Bush

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - The Obama administration and some senators are defending the newly-uncovered but long-active government program to grab our cell phone records - it's crucial for national security, they say. But privacy advocates are fuming.

The ACLU calls it "beyond Orwellian," what amounts to "surrendering basic democratic rights."

For seven years, Verizon has been ordered to hand over phone data to the NSA. Drexel criminal justice professor Rob D'Ovidio expects it's not limited to one cell company.

"The phone numbers, times and dates, as well as the location in which those calls were made or received, allow the government to really create a map of an individual's whereabouts - and to me, that is dangerous," said D'Ovidio.

One senator says the information has led the feds to bad guys, but D'Ovidio wants to know how long they're keeping details on the rest of us.

"You can't help but think whether there really is this instrumental need to collect and retain this data to the extent they're doing it," said D'Ovidio.

When asked if he feels like his privacy has been violated, D'Ovidio said, "Most certainly. There's no question about it. But I take that as a given nowadays, and that's an unfortunate statement to make."

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