NSA Wants to Expand Phone Database — Because of Privacy Suits

The government says it needs to keep the phone data as evidence.

Cars sit at the security entrance of the new NSA Data Center on October 8, 2013 in Bluffdale, Utah. It has been reported that the data center has been plagued by power surges that have destroyed hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of equipment and has delayed the opening of the center for a year.
National Journal
Brendan Sasso
Feb. 26, 2014, 11:54 a.m.

The Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion asked a fed­er­al sur­veil­lance court on Wed­nes­day for per­mis­sion to hold mil­lions of phone re­cords longer than the cur­rent five-year lim­it.

The Justice De­part­ment ar­gued that data needs to be main­tained as evid­ence for the slew of pri­vacy law­suits filed in the wake of the Ed­ward Snowden’s leaks about Na­tion­al Se­cur­ity Agency sur­veil­lance. The Amer­ic­an Civil Liber­ties Uni­on, the Elec­tron­ic Fron­ti­er Found­a­tion, and oth­er groups are su­ing to shut the pro­gram down, claim­ing it vi­ol­ates the con­sti­tu­tion­al rights of mil­lions of Amer­ic­ans.

The For­eign In­tel­li­gence Sur­veil­lance Court reg­u­larly gives the NSA per­mis­sion to col­lect re­cords in bulk from phone com­pan­ies but re­quires that the agency des­troy the re­cords after five years. The re­cords in­clude phone num­bers, call times, and call dur­a­tions, but not the con­tents of any con­ver­sa­tions.

In the fil­ing with the court on Wed­nes­day, the Justice De­part­ment said the gov­ern­ment has a “duty to pre­serve” the phone re­cords that over­rides oth­er ob­lig­a­tions. The gov­ern­ment said it would pre­serve the data in a format that pre­vents NSA ana­lysts from ac­cess­ing it.

“The United States must en­sure that all po­ten­tially rel­ev­ant evid­ence is re­tained,” the Justice De­part­ment wrote.

But the ACLU ex­pressed dis­may that the gov­ern­ment is us­ing its law­suit as a reas­on to hold on to private phone re­cords.

“This is just a dis­trac­tion,” Jameel Jaf­fer, the ACLU’s deputy leg­al dir­ect­or, said. “We don’t have any ob­jec­tion to the gov­ern­ment de­let­ing these re­cords. While they’re at it, they should de­lete the whole data­base.”

{{ BIZOBJ (video: 4710) }}

What We're Following See More »
DOWN TO THE WIRE
Sanders Looks to Right the Ship in Indiana
14 hours ago
THE LATEST

Hillary Clinton may have the Democratic nomination sewn up, but Bernie Sanders apparently isn't buying it. Buoyed by a poll showing them in a "virtual tie," Sanders is "holding three rallies on the final day before the state primary and hoping to pull off a win after a tough week of election losses and campaign layoffs." 

Source:
‘SPOOKED’ IN NORTH DAKOTA
Cruz Delegates Having Second Thoughts?
18 hours ago
THE LATEST

As unbound delegates pledged to Ted Cruz watch him "struggle to tread water in a primary increasingly dominated by Trump, many of them, wary of a bitter convention battle that could rend the party at its seams, are rethinking their commitment to the Texas senator."

Source:
MORE PRESSURE ON CONGRESS TO ACT
Puerto Rico to Default on Payment Today
18 hours ago
THE LATEST

"The confrontation between debt-swamped Puerto Rico and its creditors is intensifying as the U.S. territory will default on payments due Monday, deepening the island's financial crisis and placing additional pressure on Congress to intervene." The amount of the default is estimated at $422 million.

Source:
A RARE KIND OF REBUKE
Leading Republicans Would Say ‘No Thanks’ If Asked to Be Trump’s VP
21 hours ago
THE DETAILS

Nikki Haley. Jeb Bush. Scott Walker. Lindsey Graham. John Kasich. The list is growing ever longer of Republicans who say they wouldn't even consider becoming Donald Trump's running mate. "The recoiling amounts to a rare rebuke for a front-runner: Politicians usually signal that they are not interested politely through back channels, or submit to the selection process, if only to burnish their national profiles."

Source:
NEW WSJ/NBC/MARIST POLL
Trump Decisively Ahead in Indiana
21 hours ago
THE LATEST

"Donald Trump holds a 15-point lead over Ted Cruz in the potentially decisive May 3 presidential primary race in Indiana, according to results from a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist poll. Trump gets support from 49 percent of likely Republican primary voters — followed by Cruz at 34 percent and John Kasich at 13 percent. If that margin in Indiana holds on Tuesday, Trump would be on a glide path towards obtaining the 1,237 delegates he needs to win the Republican nomination on a first ballot at the GOP convention in July."

Source:
×