NSA’s Mass Phone Surveillance Ruled Illegal

Posted on May 13, 2015

We already knew the National Security Agency’s (NSA) program to collect telephone metadata was unconstitutional. Now we know it’s illegal too.

Last week, a panel of three judges from the US Court of Appeals second circuit overturned a prior ruling that the program could not be subject to judicial review.

The judges refrained from acting on the program while Congress debates the future of the specific provisions of the Patriot Act that ostensibly enabled the NSA’s program.

In their conclusion, the judges posited that the text of the relevant provision—Section 215—”cannot bear the weight the government asks us to assign to it, and that it does not authorize the telephone metadata program.”

The ruling further indicated that “such a monumental shift in our approach to combating terrorism requires a clearer signal from Congress than a recycling of oft‐used language long held in similar contexts to mean something far narrower.”

More information on the ruling can be found here.