Sen. Wyden denounces bulk phone record collection

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WASHINGTON — A senator who has been instrumental in the fight for open government is warning Americans their privacy is at risk because the government collects phone records in bulk.

Sen. Ron Wyden spoke out against what he calls the "vacuuming of private information" during a speech Wednesday before the American Society of News Editors.

He said, "I have to believe the civil liberties of millions of Americans have been violated."

Wyden said that while the bulk information collected by the National Security Agency involves phone numbers, location and time of the call, it might also contain vital personal details, such as relationships, medical issues, religious matters or political affiliations.

ASNE honored Wyden, an Oregon Democrat, for opposing legislation that would restrict the flow of news on foreign affairs and national security.