Latest Declassified NSA Records Show NSA Believes It Can Spy On Everyone's Location Based On Existing Approvals
from the of-course-it-does dept
In regards to the mobility testing effort, NSA consulted with DOJ before implementing this testing effort. Based upon our description of the proposed mobility data (cell site location information) testing plans, DOJ advised in February 2010 that obtaining the data for the described testing purposes was permissable based upon the current language of the Court's BR FISA order requiring the production of 'all call detail records.' It is our understanding that DOJ also orally advised the FISC, via its staff, that we had obtained a limited set of test data sampling of cellular mobility data (cell site location information) pursuant to the Court-authorized program and that we were exploring the possibility of acquiring such mobility under the BR FISA program in the near future based upon the authority currently granted by the Court.The key takeaway here: the NSA believes that the current FISA approval of dragnet collection of metadata on every phone call includes permission to track location data as well, even though it doesn't currently do so. The "BR FISA order" means "business records" which is what Section 215 of the PATRIOT Act is sometimes called. The fact that the NSA didn't seem to think it was necessary to check with the FISA Court before running this test, just to make sure it was actually allowed is rather telling.
Separately, can anyone explain why the redacted portions of this document are redacted? It makes no sense. They redact the number of location records that were obtained. I can't see how that number could possibly need to remain classified once the existence of such a test was declassified. The only reason I can think of to keep that classified is to avoid embarrassment over the large number of people whose location info was scooped up. Similarly, they redact the name of the lawyer who wrote the memo. Again, the only reason I can think to do this is to protect him from embarrassment and public mocking. Such a public mocking might seem unfair, but I don't see how it fits in with a reasonable classification category.