Gavel Grab

Lawsuit Seeks End to NSA Phone Data Collection Program

The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of a National Security Agency phone data collection program that was the subject of a leak to news media last week, which in turn ignited controversy over the court-approved program.

The lawsuit seeks an end to the “metadata” collection program (see Gavel Grab) and a purging of records that the government has collected under it, according to a Washington Post article.

According to a New York Times article, the challenged effort was launched as part of the George W. Bush administration’s surveillance programs conducted without court approval, and it “has continued since 2006 with the blessing of a national security court” under the USA Patriot Act. That secretive bench is called the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.

A New York Times editorial said, “If Americans have been slow to recognize the dangerous overreach of the N.S.A.’s phone surveillance, it is largely because they have scant information to judge the government’s conduct.” Polling has found a majority of Americans are not disturbed by disclosures about the data collection program.

In Congress, a bill was introduced to declassify opinions of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court opinions used to justify surveillance, Huffington Post reported.


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