Menu
Judge rules NSA's phone data collection program is legal, tosses ACLU suit

Judge rules NSA's phone data collection program is legal, tosses ACLU suit

The metadata collection represents "the natural tension between protecting the nation and preserving civil liberty," judge says

A federal judge has ruled that the U.S. National Security Agency's bulk phone record metadata collection efforts are legal, turning aside a lawsuit the American Civil Liberties Union brought against the agency.

While the collection program "vacuums up information about virtually every call to, from, or within the United States," it also allows the NSA to "detect relationship so attenuated and ephemeral they would otherwise escape notice," Judge William Pauley III wrote in his 54-page decision filed Friday in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

Overall, the metadata collection serves as the U.S. government's "counter-punch: connecting fragmented and fleeting communications to re-construct and eliminate Al-Qaeda's terror network," Pauley wrote.

There also is "no evidence that the Government has used any of the bulk telephony metadata it collected for any purpose other than investigating and disrupting terrorist attacks," he added. "While there have been unintentional violations of guidelines, those appear to stem from human error and the incredibly complex computer programs that support this vital tool."

The ACLU couldn't immediately provide comment on Pauley's ruling Friday.

Details of the NSA's domestic surveillance practices emerged this year through a series of disclosures by Edward Snowden, a former contractor for the agency. Snowden is now in temporary aslyum in Russia.

Snowden's actions, while unauthorized, have "provoked a public debate and this litigation," Pauley said. The metadata collection program represents "the natural tension between protecting the nation and preserving civil liberty," he wrote.

Pauley noted that the court's role was only to determine whether the program is legal. "The Court finds it is," he wrote. "But the question of whether that program should be conducted is for the other two coordinate branches of Government to decide."

His ruling comes less than two weeks after another federal judge harshly criticized the NSA program and said it could be unconstitutional.

Judge Richard Leon made a preliminary ruling in favor of plaintiffs in that case, saying the father of the U.S. Constitution, James Madison, would be "aghast" at the NSA program.

Chris Kanaracus covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Chris' email address is Chris_Kanaracus@idg.com

Follow Us

Join the New Zealand Reseller News newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags American Civil Liberties Uniononline safetysecurityEdward SnowdenCivil lawsuitslegalprivacycybercrime

Featured

Slideshows

Arrow exclusively introduces Tenable Network Security to A/NZ channel

Arrow exclusively introduces Tenable Network Security to A/NZ channel

Arrow Electronics introduced Tenable Network Security to local resellers in Sydney last week, officially launching the distributor's latest security partnership across Australia and New Zealand. Representing the first direct distribution agreement locally for Tenable specifically, the deal sees Arrow deliver security solutions directly to mid-market and enterprise channel partners on both sides of the Tasman.

Arrow exclusively introduces Tenable Network Security to A/NZ channel
Examining the changing job scene in the Kiwi channel

Examining the changing job scene in the Kiwi channel

Typically, the New Year brings new opportunities for personnel within the Kiwi channel. 2017 started no differently, with a host of appointments, departures and reshuffles across vendor, distributor and reseller businesses. As a result, the job scene across New Zealand has changed - here’s a run down of who is working where in the year ahead…

Examining the changing job scene in the Kiwi channel
​What are the top 10 tech trends for New Zealand in 2017?

​What are the top 10 tech trends for New Zealand in 2017?

Digital Transformation (DX) has been a critical topic for business over the last few years and IDC is now predicting a step change as DX reaches macroeconomic levels. By 2020 a DX economy will emerge and it will become the core of what New Zealand industries focus on. From the board level through to the C-Suite, Kiwi organisations must be prepared to think and act digital when the DX economy emerges in 2017.

​What are the top 10 tech trends for New Zealand in 2017?
Show Comments