Via Think Progress:
A federal judge has ruled that the “wholesale collection of the phone record metadata” of all U.S. citizens — a program exposed by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden — likely violates the 4th Amendment and is unconstitutional.
In his opinion, Judge Richard Leon found that the 1979 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Smith v. Maryland no longer applies:
“[T]he almost-Orwellian technology that enables the Government to store and analyze the phone metadata of every telephone user in the United States is unlike anything that could have been conceived in 1979. In Smith, the Supreme Court was actually considering whether local police could collect one person’s phone records for calls made after the pen register was installed and for the limited purpose of a small-scale investigation of harassing phone calls. The notion that the Government could collect similar data on hundreds of millions of people and retain that data for a five-year period, updating it with new data in perpetuity, was at best, in 1979, the stuff of science fiction.”
The decision was stayed by Judge Leon pending appeal and, therefore, has no immediate effect.
Edward Snowden released the following statement via Glenn Greenwald: “I acted on my belief that the N.S.A.’s mass surveillance programs would not withstand a constitutional challenge, and that the American public deserved a chance to see these issues determined by open courts. Today, a secret program authorized by a secret court was, when exposed to the light of day, found to violate Americans’ rights. It is the first of many.”
Federal Court Rules Bulk Collection Of Phone Records By NSA Likely Violates Constitution: Founding Fathers ‘Would Be Aghast’
This Is The Most Important Paragraph In The Court Decision Against The NSA
’60 Minutes’ Trashed For NSA Piece (Did anybody else see that? It was a new low for CBS).