Monday, December 16, 2013

NSA's collection of phone data could be unconstitutional, judge rules

Thank you, Captain Obvious.

I don't have time to say much about this except that it's about time.
I have to go to work.

By David G. Savage

December 16, 2013, 12:19 p.m.

WASHINGTON -- For the first time, a federal judge has struck down the National Security Agency’s once-secret policy of collecting the dialing records of all phone calls in the country, ruling that the mass data collection involving innocent Americans appears to violate the Constitution’s ban on unreasonable searches.

U.S. District Judge Richard J. Leon, who was appointed to the federal district court in Washington by President George W. Bush, immediately stayed Monday’s ruling to give the government time to appeal. As a result, his ruling will have no immediate impact in stopping the massive data-collection effort.

Still, the ruling marked the government’s first full-on courtroom defeat in the controversy that erupted after former NSA analyst Edward Snowden revealed the scope of the agency’s program.

The ruling broke new legal ground by deciding that today’s computerized gathering of all dialing records represents a new threat to privacy that was not fully recognized in the past.

In 1979, the Supreme Court said that phone records -- unlike the content of phone calls -- were not protected under the 4th Amendment. The justices allowed police detectives to use a much more primitive technology -- a pen register -- to record the numbers a suspect dialed without a search warrant.

Today, by contrast, the NSA's computers can gather, store and sift untold millions of calls, and that changes the constitutional balance, Judge Leon wrote.

“The almost Orwellian technology that enables the government to store and analyze the phone meta-data of every telephone user in the United States is unlike anything that could have been conceived in 1979,” he wrote.

He also questioned whether the phone records were useful in fighting terrorism. “The government does not cite a single instance in which analysis of the NSA’s bulk data collection actually stopped an imminent attack,” Leon said.

1 comment:

  1. NSA apologists are almost down to justifying it by saying the spying creates jobs. Heh.

    ReplyDelete

Opinions are like assholes, everyone has one, some peoples stink more than others too. Remember, I can make your opinion disappear, you keep the stink.

Fair Use Notice

Fair Use Statement: This site may contain copyrighted material, the use of which may not have been authorized by the copyright owner. I am making such material available in an effort to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. I believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to: “http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml” If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.