William Saletan, 2013[Going Courtless,William, National Correspondent at Slate.com, Going Courtless, http://www.slate.com/bullpen/warrantless_searches_the_court_oversight_of_nsa_phone_surveillan.html] The National Security Agency has been collecting the phone records of all U.S. citizens—which numbers have called which other numbers, when, and for how long—in an enormous database. The government says this mass collection is OK because the database is “queried”—i.e., searched—only under court supervision. In theory, this two-tiered approach, with judicial scrutiny applied at the query stage rather than the collection stage, is defensible. But does the judiciary—in this case, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court—really examine the database queries?
Tag- This section is about who has access to the data!
1. Who has access to the data?
“Only 20 analysts and NSA and their two managers, for a total of 22 people, are authorized to approve numbers that may be used to query this database,” Inglis testified. Mueller quoted the same figure: “You have just 22 persons who have access to this to run the numbers against the database—20 analysts and two supervisors.” Alexander elaborated: “Could somebody get out and get your phone number and see that you were at a bar last night? The answer is no, because, first, in our system, somebody would have had to approve, and there's only 22 people that can approve a reasonable, articulable suspicion on a phone number. So, first, that [phone number] has to get input. Only those phone numbers that are approved could then be queried. And so you have to have one of those 22 [people] break a law.” These statements don’t clarify whether the “access” reserved to these 22 people is a physical or just a legal matter. Is it possible for others to access the data? That raises the next question:
Tag-What is considered Unauthorized?
2. What are the barriers to unauthorized access?
Alexander testified, “To get to...
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