On Friday, it was ruled by a federal judge that the bulk collection of the telephone and internet records of millions of Americans conducted by the National Security Agency is completely legal and is also a very essential component of the efforts made by the country for battling threats of terrorism. The US District Judge William Pauley made this decision, but it is a direct contrast with the ruling that was made by US District Court Judge Richard Leon earlier this month. Moreover, because of these contrasting decisions, there is a greater chance that the NSA Phone Surveillance issue will be taken to the US Supreme Court.
A preliminary injunction had been granted by Leon against the collection of phone records and he had stated that the US Constitution’s ban imposed on unreasonable research was probably violated by this program. This particular program of the NSA picks up millions of internet and telephone records, which are routed through the American networks on a daily basis. Pauley said that this sweeping program was basically the government’s way of eliminating terror networks by putting together pieces of fleeting and fragmented communications. He also added that there was no evidence to state that the government had made use of the collected data for any purpose other than disrupting and investigating terror attacks.
He also asserted that vast amounts of data are sucked by the program, which is not only subjected to congressional and executive oversight, but is also monitored by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. Peter Carr, the spokesman for the Justice Department stated that they were very pleased with this decision. When the ruling had been issued, a lawsuit had also been dismissed by Pauley, which had been brought by the American Civil Liberties Union. They had brought the lawsuit after details of the secret programs had been leaked by Edward Snowden, former NSA analyst.
The deputy legal director of the ACLU said that they were very disappointed with this decision. Their lawyer, in a hearing last month, had argued that the government interpreted its authority in such a broad manner that it would justify its mass collection of health, financial and even library records of the innocent people without their permission or knowledge. A government lawyer had countered by asserting that personal information would be of no use to the counter-terrorism investigators. It had been acknowledged by the judge that data collection system as part of NSA Phone Surveillance activity does seem to be a bit far-reaching.
But, he also wrote that the only reason why this data collection was effective was because it collected everything. He also said that such a system could have also prevented the attacks that were made on September 11th. Since then, the government has learned the error of its ways and has been using numerous counter measures to prevent any terrorist activities. He also said that the right to be free from such seizers and search was fundamental, but could not be termed absolute. He said that every day people submit their personal information who use their data for making profits and this is even more intrusive.