The authorization has to be renewed every three months. Most likely this is for the John Poindexter's Total Information Awareness Program which was ordered defunded by Congress. Most likely they simply took the program, threw another name on it, and continued funding it anyway. Now we need to look at who authorized this program from whichever party, then impeach them, prosecute them for treason; this is highly unconstitutional.
Here's how it works, they get in real time your drivers licenses, web searches, emails, web sites you visit, phone records, bank and credit card transactions, billing information, information from you from commercial database services, probably medical records, etc. Then they take it all and put it in a gigantic dossier on you.
The dossier will also automatically link you with anyone you have contact with making you an automatic suspect if they commit a crime. Six degrees of separation anyone?
They can then run behavior analysis on this information looking for anything in your information that they can use to begin a investigation against you. It can also be used to directly target you for dirty tricks, if you rise to their level of attention. Do you really know how many laws, rules, and regulations there are; and how many every American breaks on a daily basis...
This story when it breaks and it will; would end up making the Bengazi, IRS, and snooping on journalists combined look like childs play; and could likely end up taking the United States Government down. It makes the East German Stasi look like like rank amateurs.
It's not just Verizon folks. AT&T, Bellsouth, T-Mobile, Qwest, and all the rest are under a similar order. This is just the first one that has become public. See 50 USC 1861 -http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/50/1861. Notice the frequent use of the word shall, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court has no leeway in issuing these orders
Land of the free and home of the brave anyone...