How ironic: US government wants to keep metadata collected by NSA past 5-year limit because of anti-NSA lawsuits

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Due to the lawsuits that have been filed against the National Security Agency (NSA), the American government wants to keep the records from the NSA bulk metadata collection program past the five years the NSA is allowed to keep and store the data.

The government argued, in a fourteen page document, that it would need to keep all of the data in order to properly go forward with the lawsuits.  In the document it states the following:

“Based upon the issues raised by Plaintiffs in the above-referenced lawsuits and the Government’s potential defenses to those claims, the United States must ensure that all potentially relevant evidence is retained which includes the [business records] metadata obtained in bulk from certain telecommunications service providers pursuant to this Court’s production orders. To meet this obligation, the Government seeks an order that would allow the NSA to retain the [business records] metadata for non-analytic purposes until relieved of its preservation obligations or until further order of this Court under the conditions described below. Based upon the claims raised and the relief sought, a more limited retention of the [business records] metadata is not possible as there is no way for the Government to know in advance and then segregate and retain only that [business records] metadata specifically relevant to the identified lawsuits.”

Some of the cases that the US Department of Justice were referring to included First Unitarian Church of Los Angeles v. NSA, Paul v. Obama, ACLU v. Clapper, Klayman v. Obama, as well as Perez v. Clapper.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has responded to the government’s request, saying “we agree with the government in principal that they’re under an obligation to preserve evidence, but we’re a bit confused as to why this filing in the FISC and inquiries from the press are the first we’ve heard about the issue.”

“They never approached us to discuss it,” they added, “but we would certainly be open to discussing a reasonable solution. But it’s disheartening to see the government try to hold the privacy of all Americans hostage to score PR points.”

[via Ars Technica]

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2 comments

  1. JMJ

    This is standard operating procedure; nothing sneaky or evil… this time, anyway. There are ways, I suppose, to sequester the evidence during litigation that limit the Gov’t.’s access and/or use of the “evidence” beyond defending itself at trial.