Now that President Obama has signed the USA Freedom Act, the National Security Agency will start collecting telephone metadata en masse again for six months, until the new system is up and running. At that point, phone companies will have to store that information — length of calls, numbers dialed, not content — for an unspecified amount of time, and the NSA and other spy agencies will need to get a court order to search through it.
But what about the years of phone records the NSA has already amassed? It's not clear, The Associated Press reports. "Obama administration officials have not said what they will do with those and whether they will continue to search them." AP does have other, more definitive answers in its Q&A about the Freedom Act, which you can read for further information.