Skip to main content

NSA ordered to destroy phone records it collected illegally


In case you were worried the National Security Agency was still probing around your phone records, soon enough they will be deleted.

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence announced that the "bulk collection" of phone data the NSA illegally collected under Section 215 of the Patriot act will be locked away starting November 29, 2015.

The data will effectively be out of reach from agency employees ad infinitum, effectively making it unusable in anti-terrorism or national security investigations. The only exception will be a three-month period, in which "technical personal" can check the data for the sole purpose of verifying records produced under the new USA Freedom Act.

The USA Freedom Act is also the reason very why the NSA will soon lose access to its trove of phone records. Passed earlier this summer, the act effectively banned the "bulk collection" of phone metadata and gave NSA a six-month notice to phase out the old program.

In a karmic stroke, the NSA will also be required to preserve the bulk of its bulk telephony metadata as evidence in any civil lawsuits against itself. Otherwise, the NSA will destroy the Section 215 bulk telephony metadata upon expiration of its litigation preservation obligations as soon as possible.