At the same time that the Obama administration publicly mulls over how to end its controversial storage of millions of Americans’ phone records swept up by the National Security Agency, the government is also reportedly exploring ways to prevent other spies from seeing what it’s spying on.
Five research teams are currently working across the United States—all funded by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence—on developing a system to store high-volume, encrypted searches of electronic records outside of the government’s possession, the Associated Press reports. Under the project, the NSA could conduct secure searches and shift storage of phone records from its data banks to third-party organizations.
These new systems would also enable U.S. data mining to be concealed by secret coding, preventing outsiders or even owners of the targeted databases from identifying details, the AP reports. The encrypted searched could ensure that NSA analysts could not leak information during data searches.
President Barack Obama earlier this month ordered the attorney general and other senior intelligence officials to recommend changes to NSA’s collection and storage of data that would not necessitate the government itself holding the records.