The recent extraordinary revelations regarding the National Security Agency (NSA), first leaked by the now international fugitive Warren Snowden, mean the US government has a bank full of private citizens phone and internet data.
Terrence Brown is accused of participating in a murder from 2010. Brown’s legal team had previously attempted to obtain location data from his mobile phone provider, arguing the information would prove Brown was not at the scene of the crime. However, the phone provider had deleted the records.
Since the NSA data recording revelations, Brown’s legal team saw a new opportunity in hunting down the required records. Whilst the phone company may have deleted the records, the leaked information by Snowden suggests the NSA has such records on their massive database. This led to the calls by Brown’s lawyers for the NSA to produce the information to assist his case for innocence.
It will be interesting to see how it reacts to increased calls to access their database. US citizens did not consent to their every conversation or Internet search being stored. But now that they have the information, it’s not clear how the NSA will deal with demands from citizens, such as Brown, to access their own information and records held by such agencies.
It’s even less clear how the NSA will deal with inevitable requests by prosecutors to use such information to pursue citizens for crimes. The solution is simple – uphold your citizens’ rights and collecting their phone and internet activity.