Menu
US government seeks to hold phone data beyond five-year limit

US government seeks to hold phone data beyond five-year limit

The government says it needs to hold the data because of various lawsuits challenging its collection

The U.S. government has asked a secret surveillance court to allow it to hold telephone metadata for a period beyond the current five-year limit, for use as potential evidence in civil lawsuits regarding the collection of the data.

In June last year, former National Security Agency contractor, Edward Snowden, revealed that the agency was collecting bulk phone records of Verizon customers in the U.S.

The government subsequently confirmed that it had a program for the bulk collection of phone metadata, which triggered a number of privacy law suits in various courts challenging the legality of the NSA program under section 215 of the Patriot Act.

When litigation is pending against a party, or is reasonably anticipated, the party has a duty to preserve relevant information that may be evidence in the case, the Department of Justice stated in a filing Tuesday before the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court that was made public Wednesday.

"A party may be exposed to a range of sanctions not only for violating a preservation order, but also for failing to produce relevant evidence when ordered to do so because it destroyed information that it had a duty to preserve," it wrote, while pointing out that it hasn't received a specific preservation order so far in any of the civil lawsuits.

The American Civil Liberties Union, U.S. Senator Rand Paul and the First Unitarian Church of Los Angeles are among those who have filed lawsuits challenging the phone records program.

The telephony metadata retained beyond five years for the purpose of the civil litigation will be kept in a format that prevents access or use of it by NSA staff for any purpose including queries for gathering foreign intelligence information, according to the filing.

The U.S. government is, meanwhile, exploring alternatives to the NSA holding the phone data. It has asked industry for information on whether commercially available services can provide a viable alternative to the government holding the bulk data.

In a review of NSA surveillance last month, President Barack Obama called for a new approach on telephony metadata that will "establish a mechanism that preserves the capabilities we need without the government holding this bulk metadata."

John Ribeiro covers outsourcing and general technology breaking news from India for The IDG News Service. Follow John on Twitter at @Johnribeiro. John's e-mail address is john_ribeiro@idg.com


Follow Us

Join the New Zealand Reseller News newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags U.S. Department of JusticeregulationsecurityU.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance CourtlegalU.S. National Security Agencygovernmentprivacy

Featured

Slideshows

Sizing up the NZ security spectrum - Where's the channel sweet spot?

Sizing up the NZ security spectrum - Where's the channel sweet spot?

From new extortion schemes, outside threats and rising cyber attacks, the art of securing the enterprise has seldom been so complex or challenging. With distance no longer a viable defence, Kiwi businesses are fighting to stay ahead of the security curve. In total, 28 per cent of local businesses faced a cyber attack last year, with the number in New Zealand set to rise in 2017. Yet amidst the sensationalism, media headlines and ongoing high profile breaches, confusion floods the channel, as partners seek strategic methods to combat rising sophistication from attackers. In sizing up the security spectrum, this Reseller News roundtable - in association with F5 Networks, Kaspersky Lab, Tech Data, Sophos and SonicWall - assessed where the channel sweet spot is within the New Zealand channel. Photos by Maria Stefina.

Sizing up the NZ security spectrum - Where's the channel sweet spot?
Kiwi channel comes together for another round of After Hours

Kiwi channel comes together for another round of After Hours

The channel came together for another round of After Hours, with a bumper crowd of distributors, vendors and partners descending on The Jefferson in Auckland. Photos by Maria Stefina.​

Kiwi channel comes together for another round of After Hours
Consegna comes to town with AWS cloud offerings launch in Auckland

Consegna comes to town with AWS cloud offerings launch in Auckland

Emerging start-up Consegna has officially launched its cloud offerings in the New Zealand market, through a kick-off event held at Seafarers Building in Auckland.​ Founded in June 2016, the Auckland-based business is backed by AWS and supported by a global team of cloud specialists, leveraging global managed services partnerships with Rackspace locally.

Consegna comes to town with AWS cloud offerings launch in Auckland
Show Comments