Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


Forgot your password?
Government Privacy

Court Denies NSA Request To Hold Phone Records Beyond 5 Years 46

itwbennett writes "As Slashdot readers will remember, last month the U.S. government 'petitioned the court system' to let the NSA retain phone call metadata for more than 5 years, ironically 'because it needs to preserve it as evidence for the various privacy lawsuits filed against the government.' Well, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court has ruled against that request. The FISC's Presiding Judge Reggie B. Walton ruled Friday (PDF) that the proposed amended procedures would further infringe on the privacy interests of U.S. persons whose 'telephone records were acquired in vast numbers and retained by the government for five years to aid in national security investigation.'"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Court Denies NSA Request To Hold Phone Records Beyond 5 Years

Comments Filter:
  • they want to destroy the evidence.

    oh yeah, Snowden has a message for you guys about the radar/satellite weapons and surveillance tactics that aren't getting enough public media coverage. maybe the FISA court is responsible for authorizing thousands of rapes and murders by the NSA, NRO, FBI, and DOD using directed energy weapons and various mind invasive technologies : []

    • I wonder... could we force them to keep metametadata? Y'know, summaries of what fields were copied out of what databases of what companies on what days? That way, we could still have a snowball's chance at proving that individual customers had their privacy impinged. Of course, this is all rhetoric: no, we can't force them to keep anything, and no, we wouldn't have a snowball's chance at proving shit against the fed. Fun idea, though, having a government that behaves responsibly.

      • I don't think the meta meta data matters that much. The issue at hand is the scope and invasiveness of their program. This can be amply demonstrated by examining the data they will still have available. The additional older data won't add that much.

    • they want to destroy the evidence.

      The people suing haven't asked for the records to be preserved.
      If/when that happens, then the court will revisit the issue.

      I'm guessing that the "American Civil Liberties Union, U.S. Senator Rand Paul, and the First Unitarian Church of Los Angeles" aren't collectively so stupid that they overlooked a small detail like asking for the preservation of evidence.

      • by strstr ( 539330 )

        what if no one ever asks for it to be preserved, and they destroy it and later refuse to preserve it even if someone does request that?

        they do that. they don't want the public to have a say in anything that could expose their corruption. as far as I'm concerned, it's all done to hide their corruption and abuse of the public.

        • So all you five pp's never raise the question whether or not the NSA
          should have such records in the first place?
          Well... I guess it's you country -- be blessed with it.

  • Does that mean that since the Gov can't maintain the Evidence for the suits filed against them for privacy issues, that the people suing will get default judgments? Most likely not... another catch 22 for citizens... can't win either way.

    • No, yet another court order [] says that NSA has to retain the records for the purposes of a lawsuit. This one was filed by EFF, asking the court to stop the deletion of data as per the court order in this slashdot story. The EFF lawyer actually says that
      The March 7 FISC ruling was “based on a mistaken belief that no preservation order existed for the material,” Cohn said.
      This new order was in San Fransisco and not a FISC court.
  • Now then, at least if they do keep the records longer than 5 years they are in the wrong.

    The cynic in me wants to take over this post with a they'll probably do it anyway slant, but it's been a long Monday and I try to leave that guy at work, so I'm going to go with:

    Maybe, just maybe, all our bitching is not in vain and the war for the preservation of privacy is still being waged.

    • They just transfer the info to England and viola, They're no longer retaining it.

      The problem with government agencies that work in secret is that they can make any justification they want, for any activity they want and there's no way anyone will know.
      It currently appears that the NSA is operating under the belief that:
      A. Their mission is righteous. They are the good guys.
      B. The law and constitution are another obstacle, like any other piece of hardware or software they have to deal with. As with all obstac

  • we're the NSA. we know everything.
    • by zlives ( 2009072 )

      oh come on... NSA is not omnipotent. Its not like they know who the terrorists are, where they are and what they are doing or going to do... but yeah other than that they know everything else.

  • If the government destroyed it preemptively they'd be guilty of spoliation.

    This way instead they get immunity to discovery and subpoenas.

  • Right, like that'll stop them.
  • Obligatory cynicism (Score:5, Interesting)

    by stoploss ( 2842505 ) on Monday March 10, 2014 @07:22PM (#46450765)

    Obligatory cynicism: I believe the only reason this ruling happened is the NSA found a way to technically comply with the ruling while still retaining the data. My guess is they will have a third party store it for them.

    Hooray: keep the data, avoid the lawsuits, and keep raping our freedoms! A trifecta for America!

    • by Anubis IV ( 1279820 ) on Monday March 10, 2014 @09:24PM (#46451517)

      Want to be cynical? Try this: the act of deleting the data will also delete the evidence that would be used to establish a citizen's grounds for suing the NSA over its illegal data retention. Without the ability to demonstrate that they were affected, no one will have the grounds for a lawsuit.

      • by wiredog ( 43288 )

        the act of deleting the data will also delete the evidence that would be used to establish a citizen's grounds for suing the NSA over its illegal data retention.
        That's what the NSA said when they asked for permission to hold the data for more than 5 years.

        • Yup, of that I am aware (though I'm glad you brought it up anyway, since it's worth restating). I never said my cynicism was directed at the NSA in this case. ;)

    • Yeah, that's what I figured as well.

      Can't you just feel the respect from these spooks?

  • by MindPrison ( 864299 ) on Monday March 10, 2014 @07:33PM (#46450835) Journal
    Because ultimately - the government will have the last say.

    It's any governing powers wet dream to be able to know everything about its people, that way - they can know what buttons to press, what feelings to arouse, people to use and abuse - because, lets face it - if YOU...the normal guy on the streets should get some of your little secrets exposed, they have you locked in...and you would NEVER revolt, because you STILL count your little secrets and "safe" life not worth sacrificing as your only reward for sticking it to the man...would be being hung out to dry and your life destroyed.

    Well, how is that different from war? War have casualties too, but there is no honor in death. If you're still alive to fix things, there is hope - and without hope, we're truly doomed.

    What if you have no secrets? I asked a few people if they would have a problem with the gov. storing everything about them, what they say over the phone, what they write, what they purchase - and maybe even their little secrets at home. The answer I got from most of them, was: I don't have anything to hide, I'm so boring, let them watch, let them know.

    Say, I'm going to let you in on a little secret of mine, I know a lot about people too (use your imagination here, because you won't get some long explanation on that, call it LIFE experiences if you wish). In fact, I know so much about people...that I understand the lure of power, but I've chosen not to use it at all, but alas...most people would use it in a heartbeat, why? Because I've seen that too, again and again - as I stood by and let them abuse me with the knowledge they had, it could be simple things like buying new hardware for the company to better support the workers (which is BAD if you go against the company policy), but very good for overall efficiency etc. I've seen countless people abuse power - because they want SO badly to RISE in their ranks, make their small insignificant lives a little better for them and their families, at the cost of others...not in their family.

    Have you ever seen the movie a Bugs Life? Not far away from how the governing elite controls the small everyday working ant...and like it that way, because lets face it, wouldn't you if you where given that option? To never have to worry about anything...ever again? To have endless purchasing powers? To always be right - even though you're completely wrong?

    The moral of the above is, if you GIVE them this kind of power, they will take it - and you will only have yourself to blame.
    • I don't have anything to hide, I'm so boring, let them watch, let them know.

      What these fools don't realize is that they're not the ones who get to decide if they're doing anything wrong; the government does that, and if it's corrupt and you did something it didn't like, you're screwed. The notion of the government being made up of perfect angels who would never harm a fly or make a mistake is ridiculous, and even minimal knowledge of government abuses of power throughout history shows that. The sheer amount of stupidity of trusting the current government and all future governments

      • What these fools don't realize is that they're not the ones who get to decide if they're doing anything wrong...

        Indeed, that's the sad AND scary part. We're becoming so complacent in our "safe" environment, and so afraid to upset anyone that we'll gladly bite the stick, and go back to our little holes (which will soon enough become smaller and smaller). Whenever I'm hired in as a guest speaker at the schools, I try to schedule in a heart-to-heart talk with the kids and youths about this, and try not to become too wacky for them. Kids are quite intelligent, so most of them pick up the idea once it's fully understood.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    One thing that is clear about you Yanks, and that is how badly you understand your own systems. By definition, by purpose, and by agreement between the three independent branches of the US system of governance, intelligence operations like the NSA are above the court system.

    Just as those that work with the NSA, either by choice or through coercion, may lie about every aspect of their co-operation to both citizens and politicians, without breaking any law, the charade of 'court rulings' like these is to give

  • A bullshit excuse by the NSA to keep their ill-gotten gains
  • That's a bit like telling a career criminal that he should better not do a petty crime. Like telling a murderer that it's not ok to steal a car to drive to his victim.

  • From the Declaration of Independence"... But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security...."

    The Hijacked US Government when they say "national security" its really their security just as the media uses terms such as "the US", Israel", Iraq" etc... when what they are really referring to is not the

  • Maybe they should keep the metadata about the metadata they've been collecting? Meta-metadata or is that more like an infinite loop, metadata about metadata is also metadata?

  • Well, there goes any citizen's chance at recrimination against the government. The NSA got it's wet dream, get out of jail free card and ordered by, none other than, the legal system itself! Maybe, this data should have been ordered to be removed from the control of the NSA and put into private hands for storage.
  • []

    The restraining order was issued Monday, just days after the FISA court blocked the government's request to continue holding onto call records that were relevant to ongoing litigation. With its quick action, the California district court has put a hold on that ruling for now, allowing relevant evidence to be preserved.

I've finally learned what "upward compatible" means. It means we get to keep all our old mistakes. -- Dennie van Tassel