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NSA Releases Latest Bulk Records Renewal Order On Same Day It Scores Win In DC Circuit Court Of Appeals

from the also:-normal-Friday-afternoon-document-dump dept

The FISA Court has approved another three-month extension of the NSA’s phone metadata collection, allowing the agency to run out the clock on the USA Freedom Act-triggered “transition period” with no additional stipulations attached. The transition will apparently be “business as usual” right up to the expiration date (Nov. 29, 2015), at which point everything will suddenly be compliant with the new law.

Until that date, the NSA will still collect (and store) phone metadata in bulk. The only limitation in place at this point dates back to February 2014 — when searches of the data haul were limited to court-approved “selectors” backed by reasonable, articulable suspicion.

The joint statement issued by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) and the DOJ discusses the impact of the USA Freedom Act extensively but makes no mention of court decisions or legal challenges possibly affecting the current collection of phone records in bulk. The FISA court order does mention ongoing lawsuits with implications on the collection as implemented, but simply orders the government to inform it of any changes it may need to make to the renewal order if a decision alters the bulk collection playing field.

The case that most threatened the current bulk collection was conveniently eliminated by the DC appeals court with oddly coincidental timing.

The appeals court decision was published on August 28th. On August 27th, the previous bulk records order expired. The new order commenced on the same day as the publication of the DC court’s opinion — which eliminated the possiblity of an injunction. This occurred nearly 9-1/2 months after arguments were heard from the court (Nov. 14, 2014) more than 18 months after the case was appealed. Synergistically, the court decided to file and publish its decision in favor of uninterrupted bulk collection the same day the NSA’s renewal order kicked in.

This suggests the NSA leaned on the administration and the administration leaned on the court. I wouldn’t go so far as to suggest the administration influenced the opinion, but it would seem to have been instrumental in the timing of the decision’s release.

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Comments on “NSA Releases Latest Bulk Records Renewal Order On Same Day It Scores Win In DC Circuit Court Of Appeals”

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Anonymous Coward says:

nothing will change, regardless of what court decides what at what time! all that will happen is the NSA will be much more careful who is allowed to do what to capture the data and what is done with it! you also need to remember that the ‘Special Relationship’ partner is doing exactly as it was plus a bit more now,regardless of the court decisions in the UK, so whatever the USA doesn’t do, the UK will take over, because it doesn’t give a fuck what the courts or the people say! it has some very ‘bad for the country’ people in prominent positions who will do ‘business as usual’. but when everything there goes crap shaped, it will affect a lot more than just the UK!

Anonymous Coward says:

So, as someone opined re Snowden from the start, what's better now?

That’s all a limited hangout psy-op just to get the non-aware public accustomed to being spied on. Just as the Xbox camera had a little objection at first but is now accepted as normal.

You are now living in the dystopia predicted decades ago, only a few details new, such as that a main source of spying on citizens is done by commercial corporations getting heaps of money for it and paying out heaps to bribe fools into helping it.

GEMont (profile) says:

Re: Re:

No more free lunch for these jackasses.


After 2016, its going to be more Free Lunch for a whole new batch of jackasses, instead.

And then its back to business as usual.

Believing the Vote will cure the current disease the US public is suffering from is about as dumb as believing that Obama wants open, transparent government, or that a Federal Whistleblower Program is anything but a net to catch Whistleblowers in.

Or were you not watching when the US “Voted” Obama into office, because he “promised” to be a nice guy and do favors for everyone and because Oprah said he would help The People.

Do you believe that something has changed that has somehow miraculously caused all future POTUS candidates’ campaign promises to be honest and true??

Go back to sleep.

They’ll wake you when its your turn to vote again.

Jimb says:

It is still illegal

They ruled that the plaintiffs didn’t show harm and returned it to the lower court. That’s dramatically different than the Whitehouse’s claim that it was ruled legal.

This is what our government has become — a tool to break apart the constitution. Our next president needs to be better at defending and upholding the constitution. I’m sure we all fear what will become of the country if they do not.

Anonymous Coward says:

There’s no way the government agencies are going to pull the plug on mass surveillance and pull separate warrants for each individual they wish to surveil. That totally defeats the purpose of mass surveillance and the billions of taxpayer dollars already spent building up these systems. Such as the 1 millions square foot mass surveillance facility in Bluffdale Utah.

My prediction for the USA ‘Freedom’ Actis this. Government agencies will go to the FISA Court and request a general warrant that allows them to subpoena any phone company for any information in an automated manner. The FISA Court will rubber stamp this request and renew the general warrant every 3 months, similar to how the Section 215 general warrant is currently renewed every 3 months.

Meanwhile, all the NSA mass spying hardware slurping up data AT&T’s backbone networks will remain in place. But we’ll have have a warm and fuzzy feeling inside because a bill with the deceivingly patriotic name USA ‘Freedom’ Act was passed into law so everything’s kosher.

Big whoop. Anyone who thinks the government is going to give up mass surveillance is delusional. I’m surprised the anonymous form of payment known as cash is still a payment option.

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