The NSA will soon lose access to phone records it is in possession of, but the data isn’t going away. On November 29, the agency can no longer reference the call logs or gather further data, but must keep it handy for ongoing litigation.
After late November, only “technical personnel” will have access to the data — but only for the purpose of monitoring the “integrity” of that info, and only for three months.
The data will be stored until pending civil litigation is settled, “or the relevant courts relieve NSA of such obligations.” The NSA says it plans to destroy the data as soon as possible.
November 29 may be a turning point for the NSA and bulk collection of phone metadata, but the fact that such info remains on-file and accessible is bound to leave some uneasy until it’s removed forever.