Court Says NSA Bulk Phone Data Collection Is Illegal


A federal appeals court in New York on Thursday ruled that the once-secret National Security Agency program that is systematically collecting Americans' phone records in bulk is illegal, says the New York Times. The decision comes as a fight in Congress is intensifying over whether to end and replace the program, or to extend it.

In a 97-page ruling, a three-judge panel for the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit held that a provision of the USA Patriot Act permitting the FBI to collect business records deemed relevant to a counterterrorism investigation cannot be legitimately interpreted to permit the systematic bulk collection of domestic calling records. It is the first time a higher-level court in the regular judicial system has reviewed the program, which since 2006 has repeatedly been approved in secret by a national security court.

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