The Conversation

Judge Upholds NSA Phone Snooping Program

Today, a judge ruled that the NSA surveillance program that collects millions of American's phone calls is "lawful." The case was brought by the ACLU: American Civil Liberties Union et al v. Clapper et al, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 13-03994

In his ruling, U.S District Judge Willian Pauley described how the government program  "vacuums up information about virtually every telephone call to, from, or within the United States." But went on to say that the program's constitutionality "is ultimately a question of reasonableness," and that there was no evidence that the government had used "bulk telephony metadata" for any reason other than to investigate and disrupt terrorist attacks.

(In otherwords, even though the government has offered no proof that the program has stopped any terrorist acts, since they are using the data in the name of stopping terrorism, it's OK. Got that?)

"Technology allowed al Qaeda to operate decentralized and plot international terrorist attacks remotely," Pauley wrote. "The bulk telephony metadata collection program represents the government's counter-punch."

Pauley's decision differs from Judge Richard Leon, who described the program as "Owellian" and most likely unconstitutional. 


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