|They listen to everything, but this is the only thing they need to hear.|
(Image courtesy alan.com.)
According to Reuters, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan said that even the much-maligned Patriot Act was no excuse for the NSA to go snooping around our phone conversations (and texts, and picture messages.)
Circuit Judge Gerard Lynch, whom all Americans should buy a beer for, confirmed the ruling in a 97-page decision that the Nude Snapshots Agency's skullduggery is illegal. Judge Lynch stated, "Such expansive development of government repositories of formerly private records would be an unprecedented contraction of the privacy expectations of all Americans. We would expect such a momentous decision to be preceded by substantial debate, and expressed in unmistakable language. There is no evidence of such a debate."
|Pleads ignorance to massive malfeasance.|
Leaves the wiretap tape rolling.
Leader of the "home of the brave"?!
(Image courtesy raceandcomics.blogspot.com.)
However, the appeals court did not rule on whether the actions were unconstitutional, nor did they call for a halt to the program (which is due to expire, along with the rest of the Patriot Act, on June 1st.) Lynch explained that this would give Congress a chance to formally and officially decide what types of surveillance are acceptable (and, you know, LETTING US KNOW ABOUT IT THIS TIME.) If Congress reauthorizes the objectionable Section 215 of the Patriot Act (the supposedly surveillance-enabling bit), further litigation could lead to the Supreme Court.
Other federal appeals courts in Washington D.C. and California are examining the case, which had previously been ruled lawful in December 2013 by district Judge William Pauley in Manhattan. The NSA is currently getting away with their wiretapping weirdness thanks to secret approvals from a "national security court" established in 1978 under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.
|Apparently we're really good at all of this by now, and have been for some time.|
(Image courtesy phandroid.com.)
The case was brought to court by the American Civil Liberties Union. One of their lawyers, Alex Abdo, was passionate about Thursday's verdict.
"Mass surveillance does not make us any safer, and it is fundamentally incompatible with the privacy necessary in a free society," he correctly noted.