A new essay examines the scope and legality of metadata collection by the National Security Agency (NSA).
Writing for John Jay College's Center for Cybercrime Studies, Prof. Adina Schwartz analyzed recent revelations of wide-scale telephone monitoring by US intelligence agencies and highlighted a similar program that caused public outcry a decade ago.
In 2003, Congress defunded the Total Information Awareness (TIA) program, a US Defense Advanced Research Project, which developed “data mining and other technologies to link and search disparate databases, for example to try to identify suspicious patterns to detect and track terrorists.”
TIA raised many of the same questions as the NSA metadata collection program. Schwartz highlights court decisions that point to an evolving understanding of how the Fourth Amendment applies to new monitoring technologies.
Schwartz concludes that while NSA metadata collection has led to several lawsuits and prompted President Barack Obama to say he welcomes a debate on the scope of surveillance, “a final resolution is unlikely to come quickly.
“It is also possible that, as in past litigation over alleged statutory and Constitutional violations by the NSA, the Obama administration will aggressively invoke various procedural barriers to a judicial decision on whether rights have been violated.”
Read the full essay HERE.