More Impact from Snowden as Court Rules that NSA Bulk Phone Record Collection Violates the Constitution

10 November 2015 Internet, IT & e-Discovery Blog Blog
Authors: Peter Vogel

Only weeks before the US Patriot Act will be replaced with the USA Freedom Act a federal judge ruled that National Security Agency (NSA) Bulk Telephone Metadata Program which was revealed by Edward Snowden in 2013 that systematically collects Americans’ domestic phone records in bulk “likely violates the Constitution.” After waiting 2 years on the Circuit Court to rule, on November 9, 2015 US District Judge Richard J. Leon (District of Columbia) issued a 43 page Memorandum Opinion 20 days before the NSA Bulk Telephone Metadata Program was to end to cease collecting metadata calls of a California lawyer and his law firm as the Judge stated “…because of the loss of constitutional freedoms for even one day is significant harm.”  Judge Leon wrote:

…that the constitutional issues were too important to leave unanswered in the history of the disputed program, which traces back to the aftermath of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and came to light in 2013 in leaks by Edward J. Snowden, the former intelligence contractor.

Under the program, the N.S.A. has been collecting Americans’ phone records in bulk from telephone companies. It uses the data to analyze social links between people to hunt for hidden associates of terrorism suspects.

The New York Times reported that it is unclear if the replacement system even works at all:

At a surveillance conference at the Cato Institute on Oct. 21, an NSA official said the agency had not yet begun testing the replacement system.

Privacy vs security will continue to be front page news given the reports of terrorist attacks around the globe.

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