May 7, 2015
The United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled Thursday that the Patriot Act does not authorize the bulk collection of phone records by the NSA.
The ruling undermines the key foundation upon which the federal government’s phone metadata surveillance program is built, Section 215 of the Patriot Act. That program was the first NSA surveillance program disclosed by the documents Edward Snowden took from the agency a couple of years ago. The revelation came in June 2013, and was the first in a long line of surveillance tools, programs, and technologies disclosed by the publication of the Snowden documents.
The court’s decision is the result of an appeal by several groups, including the ACLU and the EFF, of a decision by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York regarding the legality of the metadata program.