The National Security Agency’s programs for collecting metadata of all phone calls made in the United States and for wiretapping electronic communications between foreign “targets” and Americans have received a great deal of public scrutiny since Edward Snowden leaked them.  Much of the outcry is based on concerns that the government collects, and keeps, data about innocent people.  But it has largely gone unnoticed that the same thing occurs, albeit on a smaller scale, every day in run-of-the-mill criminal investigations.  The government generally will seize entire email accounts of criminal suspects, or their electronic devices, in order to search through them for evidence of a crime.  In so doing, it will invariably come across unrelated information and communications with innocent parties, and it will often keep that information indefinitely.  This has begun to raise the hackles of some judges, while others appear to regard this as an unavoidable reality of criminal investigations in the information age.  A series of decisions by a federal magistrate judge in Washington, D.C., last month and a decision by the U.S. District Court for the District of Tennessee in U.S. v. Ayache illustrate the conflicting approaches taken by courts.  The decisions also portend the difficulties this issue will pose for recipients of government warrants for electronic evidence – including communications providers, financial institutions, Internet companies, and many others.