Other agencies clamor for data the NSA compiles

As The New York Times reports:

The National Security Agency’s dominant role as the nation’s spy warehouse has spurred frequent tensions and turf fights with other federal intelligence agencies that want to use its surveillance tools for their own investigations, officials say.

Agencies working to curb drug trafficking, cyberattacks, money laundering, counterfeiting and even copyright infringement complain that their attempts to exploit the security agency’s vast resources have often been turned down because their own investigations are not considered a high enough priority, current and former government officials say.

Intelligence officials say they have been careful to limit the use of the security agency’s troves of data and eavesdropping spyware for fear they could be misused in ways that violate Americans’ privacy rights.

Of course it will spread, just like before.  For example, The Guardian reported  how Lady Manningham-Buller, the former head of MI5 was “astonished” when she found out in 2008 how many organisations were getting access to the powers authorised eight years earlier under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA).

When RIPA was introduced … I assumed wrongly that the activities authorised by that legislation would be confined to the intelligence and security agencies, the police, and Customs and Excise. The legislation was drafted at the urgent request of the intelligence and security community so that its techniques would be compatible with the Human Rights Act when it came into force in 2000. I can remember being astonished to read that organisations such as the Milk Marketing Board, and whatever the equivalent is for eggs, would have access to some of the techniques. On the principle governing the use of intrusive techniques which invade people’s privacy, there should be clarity in the law as to what is permitted and they should be used only in cases where the threat justified them and their use was proportionate.

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