U.S. Government Destroys Digital Evidence Intended For San Francisco Case

hd“The Electronic Frontier Foundation filed a brief on Friday telling a federal judge that there is no doubt that the federal government knowingly destroyed years of evidence of electronic surveillance conducted by the National Security Agency — despite a court injunction being in place to order the evidence’s protection,” The Mint News Press reports. The evidence likely included years’ worth of telephone and internet records, according to Bloomberg.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) filed a lawsuit against the government and the NSA in 2008, believing that NSA practices violated the terms of wiretapping laws — even after new legislation was passed following September 11. Among other allegations, the NSA is accused of illegally intercepting data about internet traffic data. “The government destroyed three years of telephone records seized between 2007 and 2012 and seven years worth of Internet records it seized between 2004 and 2011,” Bloomberg continues. Government officials reportedly owned up to destroying the evidence during court proceedings.

The surveillance, if proven, is entirely separate from NSA surveillance in Washington, D.C. The NSA received the illicit internet data in a San Francisco location. “By destroying this evidence, the government has hindered plaintiffs’ ability to prove with governmental evidence that their individual communications and records were collected as part of the mass surveillance, something the government has vigorously insisted that they must do, even as a threshold matter,” EFF Attorney Cindy Cohn said.

“In the world of computer forensics it is not uncommon to be ask to attempt to recover either intentionally or unintentionally deleted data, states Brad Jenkins, President & CEO of CloudNine Discovery. “However, I assume in this instance if the NSA deletes data, it is highly unlikely that any of the data could be recovered.”