DOJ Signs New Rules To Let Intelligence Officials Access, Store And Search More Info About US Citizens
from the shockingly-unshocking dept
The Obama administration is moving to relax restrictions on how counterterrorism analysts may access, store and search information about Americans gathered by government agencies for purposes other than national security threats.What's amazing is that these people still believe having access to so much info makes it easier to spot important data points, rather than hiding them deeper in the haystack. Having so much data is often useful in post hoc analysis, letting them go back and figure out who to blame, but there's little to suggest such widespread spying on Americans will be all that useful in actually preventing attacks.
Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. on Thursday signed new guidelines for the National Counterterrorism Center, which was created in 2004 to foster intelligence sharing and to serve as a clearinghouse for terrorism threats.
The guidelines will lengthen to five years — from 180 days — the center’s ability to retain private information about Americans when there is no suspicion that they are tied to terrorism, intelligence officials said. The guidelines are also expected to result in the center making more copies of entire databases and “data-mining them” — using complex algorithms to search for patterns that could indicate a threat — than it currently does.
Even if there are legitimate reasons for doing this, the idea that the data won't be widely abused is laughable:
They also said they had built safeguards into the system in to protect against misuse of the data, including audits to make sure that searches by government officials of the growing center-held databases would be done only for legitimate terrorism-related purposes.Of course, we've seen how similar audits have worked in the past, where the DOJ has been regularly dinged for abusing such rights... and then nothing happens. The audits show wrongdoing, intelligence officials pinky swear that they won't do it again, and then they go right back to abusing the info.