Federal Judge Rules Obama’s NSA Surveillance Program is Unconstitutional
December 17, 2013 12:40pm PST
A federal judge has ruled that Obama’s campaign of surveillance on Americans carried out by the National Security Agency (NSA) is unconstitutional. But he has stayed any penalties until the government appeals the case.
(See also: NSA Spying On You As You… Watch Porn?)
DC District Court Judge Richard J. Leon (a George W. Bush appointee) ruled that the NSA’s collection of metadata from telephone calls, emails, and other communications is a violation of the Fourth Amendment which prohibits the government from unreasonable searches and seizures and requires warrants for probable cause to be issued before such info is gathered.
(See also: NSA’s Website Hacked By “Anonymous”)
In his decision Leon said, “I cannot imagine a more ‘indiscriminate’ and ‘arbitrary invasion’ than this systematic and high-tech collection and retention of personal data on virtually every citizen for purposes of querying and analyzing it without prior judicial approval. Surely, such a program infringes on ‘that degree of privacy’ that the Founders enshrined in the Fourth Amendment.”
But judge Leon has stayed his ruling to give the government some time to appeal the decision. This stayed decision also gives the government some time to prepare to obey the ruling in case it is upheld by a higher court.
The government is claiming that it should be allowed to gather this metadata because of the “special circumstances” in today’s war on terror. However, Judge Leon disagreed with that claim saying, “No Court has ever recognized a special need sufficient to justify continuous, daily searches of virtually every American citizen without any particularized suspicion.”
The government maintains that no personal information is ever gathered, no calls actually listened to, and no phone numbers collected. Of course, one wonders why they need the info at all if said info doesn’t lead to actually listening in on conversations to find terrorists?
Here is the full decision:
Well, this is a step back toward our personal freedoms, isn’t it? Or do you agree with the government that it should be able to gather this data to stop terrorism? Tell us your thoughts in the comments.
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