No Surprise: NSA Stores All Metadata It Collects For At Least A Year, Even If It Has Nothing To Do With Anything

from the because-why-the-fuck-not,-that's-why dept

The latest revelation from the Snowden docs published by The Guardian is that the NSA’s MARINA metadata system for internet data stores the information it gets for up to a year.

“The Marina metadata application tracks a user’s browser experience, gathers contact information/content and develops summaries of target,” the analysts’ guide explains. “This tool offers the ability to export the data in a variety of formats, as well as create various charts to assist in pattern-of-life development.”

The guide goes on to explain Marina’s unique capability: “Of the more distinguishing features, Marina has the ability to look back on the last 365 days’ worth of DNI metadata seen by the Sigint collection system, regardless whether or not it was tasked for collection.” [Emphasis in original.]

Note that this is different than the phone metadata that people have been talking about. This is “internet” metadata — so browser history, contacts, etc. In other words, the kind of stuff that Dianne Feinstein accidentally admitted the US is scooping up by the boatloads by tapping the internet’s backbone with help from US telcos.

The fact that they can look through it even if it hasn’t been “tasked for collection” is pretty big. It again shows how the NSA keeps saying one thing (such as claiming they only keep data on people they’re “targeting”) is simply false. The NSA continues to redefine things. Information isn’t “collected” until it’s searched. And it’s apparently not “stored” until it’s moved into a different database than this one.

How does anyone take these guys seriously?

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Comments on “No Surprise: NSA Stores All Metadata It Collects For At Least A Year, Even If It Has Nothing To Do With Anything”

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13 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

NSA Stores All Metadata It Collects For At Least A Year

NSA continues to redefine things. Information isn’t “collected” until it’s searched. And it’s apparently not “stored” until it’s moved into a different database than this one.

Can we confirm their interpretation of “year”. Which planet specifically?

DSchneider (profile) says:

Kevin Bacon's to Blame

The over collection of US user data really isn’t the NSA’s fault. They had all the proper checks in place to make sure they were only getting those people who were within the contact circle of a target. The problem started when a “foreign target” miss-dialed one of his contacts and got Kevin Bacon instead. Once they got 6 layers out from Kevin, they had inadvertently collected the data of the entire country.

Anonymous Coward says:

“…as well as create various charts to assist in pattern-of-life development.”

Pattern of life? As in a pattern of every law-abiding, red-blooded American’s entire life? Since the day they were born?

Say no more about these unconstitutional spy programs. I’ve heard enough. It’s clear the main mission of these programs, isn’t about catching terrorists.

It’s about spying on everyone, so the DOJ has a lifetime worth of evidence on all of us. Data they can later search to find something…. anything to use against someone who rubs the government the wrong way. (Martin Luther King Jr., Aaron Swartz)

They’ll search the databases 30 years into the past in order to find something incriminating, if they have to. They’ll tap AT&T on the shoulder and obtain whatever information they need, without a even filing for a warrant.

If all else fails, they’ll use parallel construction to justify the 30 year old evidence illegally obtained.

All these spy programs are an abomination of humanity, human rights, and freedoms.

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