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Federal judge rejects government request to preserve phone records for more than 5 years

A federal judge has rejected a Justice Department request to keep telephone records collected by the National Security Agency beyond a five-year limit, saying that to do so would further infringe on the privacy interests of U.S. citizens.

The Justice Department says it must preserve the records in case they are needed as evidence in lawsuits against the government.

Reggie Walton, chief judge of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, noted in his ruling that none of the groups suing the government over the NSA's phone data program had asked for the records to be preserved.

The judge said that the phone data loses its foreign intelligence value after five years and that extending the period would increase the risk that information about U.S. citizens might be improperly used.

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