recommended reading

NSA Wants to Expand Phone Database—Because of Privacy Suits

Protestors demonstrated against the NSA programs in October in Washington.

Protestors demonstrated against the NSA programs in October in Washington. // Jose Luis Magana/AP

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."

Threatwatch Alert

Stolen credentials

Hackers Steal $31M from Russian Central Bank

See threatwatch report

JOIN THE DISCUSSION

Close [ x ] More from Nextgov
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from Nextgov.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

    Download
  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

    Download
  • PIV- I And Multifactor Authentication: The Best Defense for Federal Government Contractors

    This white paper explores NIST SP 800-171 and why compliance is critical to federal government contractors, especially those that work with the Department of Defense, as well as how leveraging PIV-I credentialing with multifactor authentication can be used as a defense against cyberattacks

    Download
  • Toward A More Innovative Government

    This research study aims to understand how state and local leaders regard their agency’s innovation efforts and what they are doing to overcome the challenges they face in successfully implementing these efforts.

    Download
  • From Volume to Value: UK’s NHS Digital Provides U.S. Healthcare Agencies A Roadmap For Value-Based Payment Models

    The U.S. healthcare industry is rapidly moving away from traditional fee-for-service models and towards value-based purchasing that reimburses physicians for quality of care in place of frequency of care.

    Download
  • GBC Flash Poll: Is Your Agency Safe?

    Federal leaders weigh in on the state of information security

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.