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NSA: Our systems are so complex we can’t stop them from deleting data wanted for lawsuit - The Washington Post

Stashed in: Privacy does not exist., Privacy, Digital Age, Politics

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In a hearing Friday, U.S. District  for the Northern District of California Judge Jeffrey S. White reversed an emergency order he had issued earlier the same week barring the government from destroying data that the Electronic Frontier Foundation had asked be preserved for that case. The data is collected under Section 702 of the Amendments Act to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

But the NSA argued that holding onto the data would be too burdensome. "A requirement to preserve all data acquired under section 702 presents significant operational problems, only one of which is that the NSA may have to shut down all systems and databases that contain Section 702 information," wrote NSA Deputy Director Richard Ledgett in a court filing submitted to the court.

The complexity of the NSA systems meant preservation efforts might not work, he argued, but would have "an immediate, specific, and harmful impact on the national security of the United States." Part of this complexity, Ledgett said, stems from privacy restrictions placed on the programs by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.

Convenient excuse.

It is. There's something so wrong about this. 

I agree, but they are pretty much on the bleeding edge of collection, analysis, storage, and encryption.  If you are pushing clustered computing to it's absolute limits, which they are, I can understand how traditional understanding of how the data is handled at that scale might not apply.  

All this tells me is that the NSA is at the bleeding edge of both current law and current technology. 

Not just at the bleeding edge, but pushing the limits.

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