A federal appeals court ruled on Thursday that the National Security Agency’s routine mass collection of Americans’ phone records and metadata is unlawful.
The three judges ruled that the NSA’s use of phone records “exceeds the scope of what Congress has authorized” under the Patriot Act. The Patriot Act was initially intended as a counterterrorism effort, but many organizations and advocates have repeatedly pointed out that NSA surveillance goes far beyond that.
“This case serves as an example of the increasing complexity of balancing the paramount interest in protecting the security of our nation … with the privacy interests of its citizens in a world where surveillance capabilities are vast,” reads the 97-page ruling.
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