[Ed. – They have a point.]
As the Obama administration considers shifting the collection of those records from the National Security Agency to requiring that they be stored at phone companies or elsewhere, it’s quietly funding research to prevent phone company employees or eavesdroppers from seeing whom the U.S. is spying on, The Associated Press has learned.
The Office of the Director of National Intelligence has paid at least five research teams across the country to develop a system for high-volume, encrypted searches of electronic records kept outside the government’s possession. The project is among several ideas that would allow the government to discontinue storing Americans’ phone records, but still search them as needed.
Under the research, U.S. data mining would be shielded by secret coding that could conceal identifying details from outsiders and even the owners of the targeted databases, according to public documents obtained by The Associated Press and AP interviews with researchers, corporate executives and government officials. …
Some computer science experts are less sanguine about the prospects for encrypted search techniques. Searches could bog down because of the encryption computations needed, said Daniel Weitzner, principal research scientist at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory and former deputy U.S. chief technology officer for the Obama administration.
“There’s no silver bullet that guarantees the intelligence community will only have access to the records they’re supposed to have access to,” Weitzner said. “We also need oversight of the actual use of the data.”