NSA to delete bulk surveillance records

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) announced Monday the National Security Agency (NSA) will erase the aggregate of phone records collected under the Patriot Act.

The (ODNI) did not specify a fixed date for the destruction; however, the NSA is prohibited from accessing its current store of records and retrieving further metadata will require the NSA to obtain a writ from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.

Replaced by the Freedom Act in June, provisions of the Patriot Act were revived and remain in place until 2019.  Despite fierce congressional debate, the collection of bulk data was extended until November 29, 2015 when security researchers will be barred from access to the data.

Data collection has long been a point of contention among civil libertarians; the collection of bulk data is subject to numerous lawsuits, notably from the American Civil Liberties Union and the Electronic Frontier Foundation.  Exclusive to ongoing litigation, the current data will be preserved and oversight provided by “technical personnel” for verification purposes for an additional three-month period after the November date terminating security staff from their privileges to survey the records.

Waiting for the courts to untangle these legal cases could take years.  This will create a portal long enough for the NSA to obtain a subpoena to examine data whenever it chooses.

Some announcement and, uh, so much for destroying this data in a timely fashion.