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United States Privacy The Courts

Privacy Lawsuits Over NSA Spying Force Retention of Metadata 59

Posted by samzenpus
from the keeping-it-a-bit-longer dept.
jfruh writes "Under the U.S.'s previously secret program of gathering phone call metadata, that information was only retained for a period of five years. Now the government has petitioned the court system to retain it longer — not because it wants to, it says, but because it needs to preserve it as evidence for the various privacy lawsuits filed against the government. Federal lawyers have suggested several ways the information can be preserved without being available to the NSA."
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Privacy Lawsuits Over NSA Spying Force Retention of Metadata

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  • We're going to keep it anyway, but we'd prefer to have your permission.
    • by jafiwam (310805) on Friday February 28, 2014 @08:32AM (#46366741) Homepage Journal

      It's interesting they are now saying "information that was only retained for a period of five years."

      Five years is about as long as some of that stuff has been in place. Which means basically, on their own, none of it has been deleted ever.

      Also, this "five years" thing just popped up. I am sure it would have been discussed at length. So it's new, made up information.

      And also probably a gigantic, colossal, and obvious LIE.

      So THIS now means "don't sue us or we'll go even MORE tyrannical on your ass".

      Elections have consequences folks.

      • by DoofusOfDeath (636671) on Friday February 28, 2014 @08:40AM (#46366777)

        Elections have consequences folks.

        That's a nice idea. But can you point to a collection of Representatives, Senators, and a President we could have elected over the past 12 years that would have prevented this?

        • Maybe these guys? [comicvine.com]
        • by oodaloop (1229816)
          Ralph Nader.
        • by Immerman (2627577)

          Assuming the NSA wasn't actively threatening/blackmailing politicians into compliance with their long-term goals? Probably most of the third-party candidates, especially those with a libertarian bent. This shit didn't "just happen", there have been deeply entrenched vested interests on both sides of the aisle angling for this for a long time. Hell, I usually ignore elections as ineffective, but if real progress hasn't been made (not just promises) on reigning in the NSA by election day this year I'm stand

          • Assuming the NSA wasn't actively threatening/blackmailing politicians into compliance with their long-term goals? Probably most of the third-party candidates, especially those with a libertarian bent. This shit didn't "just happen", there have been deeply entrenched vested interests on both sides of the aisle angling for this for a long time. Hell, I usually ignore elections as ineffective, but if real progress hasn't been made (not just promises) on reigning in the NSA by election day this year I'm standing in line to vote all third-party, and recruiting all my friends to do the same. It may already be too late at this point, but if we don't at least try we've got nobody but ourselves to blame. And a congress packed full of deadlocked ideological nutters that at least kind of want to serve their constituency can only be an improvement over the current situation.

            Hell, maybe we could make an event out of it - live music, BBQ, the works. Draw a big crowd to the minimum legal distance from the polling place, and encourage them to vote for anyone without a D or R beside their name. A zero-day "Vote out the Sock Puppets" campaign. Give the apathetic a reason to show up that has nothing to do with politics, and let peer pressure and their own distaste for entrenched politicians do the rest. After all you can listen to music, eat your burger, and generally shoot the shit just as easily while standing in line.

            This is my greatest concern. Still after all the time this spying has been public, no one seems to think it's a threat to the entire system of government of this Republic. Blackmail. Blackmail. The President of the U.S. and his ruling party which the NSA reports to has the emails and contact lists and meta data of every member of the opposition party. Also the same data on every judge including the Supremes and every reporter in the world. Doesn't anyone except me see that the system can no longer function

            • by Immerman (2627577)

              I think you're making an unfounded assumption when you claim the NSA reports to the president. We've already seen them basically completely ignore the demands he has made of them with regard to spying on our allies, despite being basically the guidelines they themselves recommended (or so I recall hearing, I confess I've stopped paying close attention for the sake of my emotional well-being)

              That seems to have always been the danger of secret police - at first they're often beholden to the powers that creat

        • by Anonymous Coward

          Personally I applaud my senator Bernie Sanders for trying to pursue the NSA on this issue, I'd note that even the socialists in the senate disapprove of this big brothering while the core republicans keep standing by silently... Go VT

        • Elections are no good. Civil disobedience is the keyword.
        • Ron Paul and Rand Paul would've prevented it. Also Senator Mike Lee, and Representatives Justin Amash and Thomas Massie. Maybe Rep Dennis Kucinich too, but I'm not completely sure about his civil liberties record.

        • Elections have consequences folks.

          That's a nice idea. But can you point to a collection of Representatives, Senators, and a President we could have elected over the past 12 years that would have prevented this?

          No.. no... and hell no!!

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Don't forget, not long ago the official position was that the NSA does not "collect" information on Americans. Air quotes since Clapper uses a completely different definition of collect than the rest of us.

      • The keep talking of "the metadata" as if there were an agreed upon term in this context. "What" data other than the routing information is "meta"? Now you and I might say; the email address and routing information -- but aren't we forgetting that the NSA and government are trying to squash the interest in this issue? Couldn't a slippery person portray something like "the relationship data of the person sending, who they send to, the people they commonly send to, the friends and associates of everyone connec

        • a point I keep bringing up because this entire program seems useless for capturing terrorists like Al Qaeda.

          Even if the NSA were effective at stopping terrorists, it would *still* be unacceptable, as it violates people's fundamental liberties and the constitution.

      • Five years is about as long as some of that stuff has been in place.

        Seriously you think this started in 2009 ?!?

        For your information, stuff MUCH WORSE THAN THE PRESENT DAY NSA started immediately after 9/11, thirteen years ago. It was Speaker Pelosi who cleaned up and reformed the laws to remove the most egregious elements of it [scribd.com]

        President Bush’s Warrantless Surveillance Program started after 9/11(known as the “PSP” or “TSP”)

        • Exclusive Means: Absolute Presidential discretion pur
        • Individual Warrants for Persons Inside the US

          1. Clarifies that individual warrants based on probablecause are required to conduct surveillance on any U.S. person (citizen or permanent resident) or any personlocated inside the U.S.

          Quite obviously not happening. They're collecting everyone's information, essentially.

          Regardless of who's worse, no one can deny that Obama, Bush, and their ilk are slimy pieces of shit that don't care about people's rights or the constitution.

          • Quite obviously not happening. They're collecting everyone's information, essentially.

            Regardless of who's worse, no one can deny that Obama, Bush, and their ilk are slimy pieces of shit that don't care about people's rights or the constitution.

            Pen-register lists (a.k.a "metadata", a.k.a. "who you called, not what you said") have not been covered since the Supreme Court ruled they didn't require a warrant in 1967. Maybe that ruling was in error, but they're the Supreme Court. They get to decide such things.

            It's in the Constitution.

            • That ruling was definitely in error, and this is 100% unconstitutional, no matter what some judges may say, or have said. So unless you're going to make a paradoxical statement that the Supreme Court is always right, you should agree with me.

              And metadata is nothing more than data. What else is it, if not a kind of data? The funny thing is, the could *just as easily* retrieve the 'actual' data, so what makes that any more private? Nothing but legal fictions.

  • The public has no idea of the constructs built to handle this type of data. Now that we are being told, indirectly, that it's here to stay, where will it "sit" where agencies cannot get to it? On removable flash drives? Please...

  • There is a way for NSA to get that information somehow. We know how weasely those guys are...
    • by geekmux (1040042)

      There is a way for NSA to get that information somehow. We know how weasely those guys are...

      Weasly?

      A weasel doesn't stand in plain sight, perform illegal activities right in front of your face, and then turn to you and say, "Tough shit if you don't like it.", which is exactly what the US government has done for a very long time with their arrogant attitude.

      Care to tell me how they have changed their illegal gathering of data at all since any of Snowdens data was released? Oh, they claim they have? Yeah, go ahead and prove it. Nothing will change, no matter what the hell you want if they see val

  • by jma05 (897351) on Friday February 28, 2014 @08:27AM (#46366707)

    Does this mean that they will take the data offline and archive it away from their query systems?... such that it is not just another excuse for keep using the data?

    What exactly does "longer" mean in their petition? One year, two years? Forever?

  • Federal lawyers have suggested several ways the information can be preserved without being available to the NSA.

    I'm *sure* they are well intentioned, but do we really trust a legal solution to data storage by the NSA?
    Or are we trusting lawyers for their technical security knowhow?

    • by GodInHell (258915)
      Suggestion from a lawyer: Copy to disk drive. Turn off PC. Remove disk drive and place in safe. (Repeat for what could be petabytes of data).

      Alternatively, print to hard copy and prepare for histrionics when Defendants find out there are eight warehouses filled with nothing but stored paper copies.
  • The government can petition to be allowed for it to preserve the preserved metadata, in order to use as evidence in civil suits that result from when it's discovered that the preserved metadata wasn't safe from the NSA after all...

  • In a sane world, Clapper and Co would be facing criminal charges.

  • Sounds a lot like, "But you made me hit you, bitch!"
  • They have only x amount of storage, they can't keep everything they have and continue to monitor at the same volume/rate they are doing. So make them keep EVERYTHING they collect, and we'll fill their storage up and stop functional operations. They want our data? Let 'em have ALL of it and then some.

    • by Kasar (838340)
      That was the gist of a Wired article a couple of years ago with statements about the Utah facility, it was designed to have the capacity to archive the internet ten times over and have a supercomputer for cracking encryption. Their stated goal was to capture all digital traffic, especially archiving all encrypted traffic until they could decrypt it. Now that the multi-billion dollar facility is online (and an expansion is being built elsewhere), it turns out that part of Utah doesn't have enough electrici
  • .. to lobby more 'infrastructure' grants from the government. All that data doesn't keep itself on-line.

"When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro..." -- Hunter S. Thompson

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