NSA won’t confirm or deny it has your data

Hundreds of Americans have filed FOIA requests since the scandal broke. Early returns suggest they may be in vain

Topics: the daily dot, NSA, Edward Snowden, Prism, BLARNEY, Privacy, , ,

This article originally appeared on The Daily Dot.

The Daily Dot

After it was revealed two weeks ago that the National Security Agency collects domestic emails, chats, photos, and call records through two surveillance operations, PRISM and BLARNEY, hundreds of Americans filed Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests to find out what of their personal data has been gathered.

If the NSA’s response to one such request from San Francisco-based web developer Jarrett Streebin is any indicator, those FOIA filings will likely be in vain.

“To the extent that your request seeks any metadata/call detail records on you and/or any telephone numbers provided in your request, or seeks intelligence information on you, we cannot acknowledge the existence or non-existence of such metadata or call detail records,” the agency wrote Streebin.

You Might Also Like

Curiously, Streebin never requested any telephone metadata. “That’s what’s weird,” he told the Daily Dot. “I didn’t even care about the phone stuff.” According to Streebin, on his FOIA he wrote: “I hereby request any and all documents, communication and memos relating to myself, Jarrett Lee Streebin.”

The telephone records mentioned in the letter appears to be a reference to project BLARNEY, which, according to the Washington Post, “gathers up ‘metadata’— technical information about communications traffic and network devices — as it streams past choke points along the backbone of the Internet.”

The letter explained that although PRISM and BLARNEY had been publicly acknowledged, if the NSA responded on a case-by-case basis [to requests such as Streebin’s]…the country’s adversaries would be able to deduce the particulars of the agency’s technical capabilities and sources and cause “exceptionally grave damage to the national security.”

“It looks like they just toss some boilerplate denials in a letter and send them out, Streebin said. “I plan to try a more targeted request and an appeal.”

If Streebin’s rejection is in fact a form letter geared towards those inquiring about PRISM and BLARNEY, it will likely also be received by the 500 or so citizens who filed similar FOIA requests through the website, My NSA Records.

The site’s founder, Internet activist Jonathan Corbett, told the Daily Dot that the rejection would not deter him from filing requests on behalf of its users.

“The NSA’s determination that releasing the records would release classified information is certainly challengeable in court at this point, since not only have the documents describing the data collected been released, but many officials have publicly acknowledged the data collection,” Corbett said.

“Your FOIA request is a statement to the government,” he added. “You already know what data they have.”

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 10
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails
    Michael Ohl/Museum fur Naturkunde

    Soul-sucking 'dementor' wasps and 8 other crazy new species

    Soul-Sucking Dementor Wasp

    Latin name: Ampulex dementor

    Truong Ngyuen

    Soul-sucking 'dementor' wasps and 8 other crazy new species

    10,000th reptile species

    Latin name: Cyrtodactylus vilaphongi

    Jodi Rowley/Australian Museum

    Soul-sucking 'dementor' wasps and 8 other crazy new species

    Colour-changing thorny frogs

    Latin name: Gracixalus lumarius

    Judith L. Eger

    Soul-sucking 'dementor' wasps and 8 other crazy new species

    Long-fanged bat

    Latin name: Hypsugo dolichodon

    Neang Thy Moe/FFI

    Soul-sucking 'dementor' wasps and 8 other crazy new species

    Stealthy wolf snake

    Latin name: Lycodon zoosvictoriae

    Michael Janes

    Soul-sucking 'dementor' wasps and 8 other crazy new species

    Feathered coral

    Latin name: Ovabunda andamanensis

    Jerome Constant

    Soul-sucking 'dementor' wasps and 8 other crazy new species

    World's second-longest insect

    Phryganistria heusii yentuensis

    Nantasak Pinkaew

    Soul-sucking 'dementor' wasps and 8 other crazy new species

    Slide 8

    Latin name: Sirindhornia spp

    Tim Johnson

    Soul-sucking 'dementor' wasps and 8 other crazy new species

    Slide 9

    Tylototriton shanorum

  • Recent Slide Shows


Loading Comments...