MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) - A leaked court order Thursday revealed the U.S. government is collecting phone records of millions of Americans, whether they're suspected of being terrorists or not.
Under a section of the Patriot Act, signed by President George W. Bush in 2001 after the 9/11 attacks and renewed twice since then, surveillance like this has been going on for years.
The court order leaked Thursday requested all call records from Verizon Wireless between April 25 and July 19 be turned over to the government. Verizon has more than 100 million customers.
With the records, the National Security Agency can see your phone number, the number of the person you're calling, the time, location and duration of the call.
"President Obama apparently said that we shouldn't be worried, that nobody's listening to our calls," says professor of law at Mercer University, David Oedel. "On the other hand, the government is collecting information about at least who we're calling and who is calling us."
One Macon man we spoke with Friday says he's fine with it.
"To support national security, I'm 100% behind it," he says. "You shouldn't have anything to hide."
Others feel it's just not right.
"We're talking about peoples' lives here, peoples' conversations, well known kept secrets," says one man.
"As far as constitutionally, I don't believe it's right," says another.
"If you're going to do something with it like stopping bombings and stuff, then I'm fine with it," says Brynne Weed. "But they're not going to."
One woman says she just wants more answers.
"For what kind of security?" asks Gay Logan. "Explain that to me, and then maybe I'll understand what it's really for."
President Obama insisted Friday Americans have no reason to worry.
"Nobody is listening to your telephone calls," he said.
The government might not be listening to your calls, but are all these seizures legal?
"It is at least conceivable that a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act court did approve it," says Oedel. "Apparently, that's what the administration is suggesting, and they're furthermore suggesting that Congress was advised of it."
The president says it's time for Americans to make a decision.
"You can't have 100% security and also then have 100% privacy."
41NBC reached out to Verizon Wireless for its take on the surveillance. A spokesperson issued a brief statement.
"Verizon complies with court orders," the spokesperson wrote. "We can not comment further."
Now that these secret data collections have gone public, Obama fears potential terrorists could begin searching for other ways to communicate.
Some members of Congress, including Republican Saxby Chambliss of Georgia, stand by the surveillance. They say a separate court ruling would be required to dig any deeper into a person's phone records.