Cody Poplin at Lawfare points out that the Defense Department has just issued an update on rules governing its intelligence collection activities — the first major update in over 30 years. These would directly affect the NSA, which operates under the Defense Department.
The most significant alteration appears to be to retention periods for US persons data. While everything is still assumed to be lawful under Executive Order 12333 and DoD Directive 5240.1, the point at which a record is deemed to be “collected” — starting the clock on the retention period — has changed.
Under the new rules, “collection” occurs “upon receipt,” whereas the previous manual defined “collection” as occurring when the information was “officially accept[ed] … for use.” The change ensures that all protections governing even the incidental collection of U.S. personal information (USPI) applies upon receipt of that information. The clock starts to run as soon as information is collected, meaning that collected information must be promptly evaluated to determine the proper retention period.
This should result in better minimization of incidentally-collected US persons info as the determination must be made shortly after harvesting, rather than waiting until the collected data is queried. This likely means the NSA may be making more efforts to head off incidental collection, as leaving things the way they are will now result in additional logistics headaches.
This doesn’t necessarily mean incidentally-collected info will be swiftly disposed of. The DoD can still hold onto this data for five years. And, if the target of the incidental collection leaves the country during that retention period, the DoD can hold onto the data for a quarter-century.
Info on US persons/entities (still located in the US) is also being granted additional protections, including enhanced minimization procedures for dissemination of collected data to other agencies …