June 21, 2013
The Guardian released new details about the National Security Agency’s spying practices, which reveals how analysts can store vast sums of data without a warrant. Specifically, if the NSA “inadvertently” stumbles upon anything related to a potential crime, it can store the data for later investigations.
Quite reasonably, the Supreme Court has declared that law enforcement can charge citizens with a crime if it’s being conducted in “plain sight“–e.g. if cops see pot sitting in the passenger seat of a car during a traffic stop. That is, the presumption of innocence doesn’t apply to if police inadvertent witness a crime. Unfortunately, the scope of the presumption of innocence gets tinier as the government’s eyes get bigger.
According to the documents, the NSA is required to “minimize” any surveillance of U.S. citizens, which is beyond the jurisdiction of the foreign-enemy-facing agency. If communication between telephone records or internet addresses appear to be wholly within the United States or concerning U.S. citizens, data will be “promptly destroyed.”