Appeals Judges Skeptical On Challenge To NSA Phone Record Collecting


In weighing a constitutional challenge to the National Security Agency's bulk collection of phone records, federal appeals judges in Washington, D.C., expressed doubts about whether the challengers had standing to be in court, let alone whether they could prove that the surveillance program violated the Fourth Amendment, the National Law Journal reports. Lawyer and activist Larry Klayman filed the suit, arguing that the government's mass collection of phone metadata from phone companies violated privacy rights, as U.S. District Judge Richard Leon has ruled.

During arguments yesterday, judges repeatedly asked Klayman to explain how the phone records collected by the government differed from cases in which the U.S. Supreme Court found that customers didn't have a privacy interest in information they turned over to a third party. Judges David Sentelle and Stephen Williams appeared skeptical when Klayman argued that the data collected by the government went beyond the type of information collected by law enforcement in cases such as a 1979 Supreme Court ruling on use of a pen register to track phone numbers a person dialed.

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