Federal Judge Says NSA Data Collection Is Legal

Increasing chance that Supreme Court will ultimately decide the issue

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A federal judge in New York said Friday that the National Security Agency can legally collect massive amounts of telephone records, disagreeing with a different judge and increasing the possibility that the issue will ultimately go before the Supreme Court.

Judge William Pauley ruled that the practice of collecting so-called “metadata” on millions of Americans’ phone calls does not violate privacy protections in the Constitution because the data is collected by third parties like telephone companies, and the NSA cannot immediately connect a number with a name. He also said the practice could have been used to prevent attacks like the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks had it been in place at the time, the New York Times reports.

Pauley granted a motion by the federal government to dismiss a suit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union.

“We are pleased the court found the NSA’s bulk telephony metadata collection program to be lawful,” Peter Carr, a spokesperson for the Justice Department, said in a statement. A lawyer for the ACLU told the AP that the group will appeal the decision.

Earlier this month, Judge Richard Leon said the program is likely unconstitutional, in what was then the first legal setback to the NSA since former contractor Edward Snowden leaked records about the program this year.

Read Pauley’s full ruling here.

[NYT]

38 comments
AlanMacDonald
AlanMacDonald

1:31 PM EST I feel that I have to emphasize this most critical point to understand about what Snowden is actually doing --- even if he himself has not clearly said it, and given that no analysis or articles have clearly said this: 
Snowden in 'exposing' the NSA is actually and far more importantly EXPOSING THE WHOLE EMPIRE --- of which the NSA, as bad as it is, IS ONLY ONE SMALL PART. 
 
The entire Disguised Global Empire, which has taken over our former country, is actually a combined and fully integrated; corporate, financial, militarist, media, extra-legal/judicial, and faux political Global Empire ----- which includes "the whole empire mindset (being) evil", or of "Empire-thinking". 
 
If a leading progressive community, including both posters and article authors, continue to focus and self-obsess only on Snowden's 'outing' of the NSA, and do not fully understand that the far greater issue is to comprehend and leverage Snowden's 'outing' as being an 'outing' of "the whole empire", then the intellectual basis for achieving a real revolution against the "whole Empire" will not be based on reality --- and may continue to be misdirected only at the vast variety of 'symptom problems' and individual arms of the Empire, like this one single issue of 'spying by the NSA', and miss "the forest for the trees" by being distracted from the combined strength and evil of the whole Empire itself, namely the combined; corporate, financial, militarist, media, extra-legal, and political sectors of the same single Global Empire. 
 
It may take me considerable time, repetition, and description of this COMBINED EMPIRE to bring others to the necessary level of understanding this essential point, and to warn against the distractions of the Empire that aim at confusing and dividing people by focusing on all the little separate 'issues' –- and I apologize for having to repeat myself so often, but it is truly essential to think more broadly about the combined Global Empire that Snowden has revealed.

anti-government
anti-government

Our government has used fear of "terrorists" to take our Constitutional liberties.

The irony is that we Americans have killed more civilians with our bombs, etc. than all the "terrorists" in the world combined and, to meet this relatively minor threat, have relinquished 200+ years of the freedoms that made our country special. Compared to just 50 years ago, we are far more dominated today by the folks who are supposed to be our "public servants". That's not freedom, folks, it's the SAME PATH THE ROMAN EMPIRE TROD TO DISASTER.

False_Believer
False_Believer

Having read the opinion, the key issue here is that once you provide information to a third party (Verizon), you lose privacy rights to that information. Only the service provider can challenge a government request, and, spineless poodles that they are, they roll over. Interesting that it didn't even mention the Leon opinion and some of the dictum about Snowden tells us it wasn't entirely impartial. What we have to remember in the broader debate is that vacuum cleaner surveillance isn't very useful for its stated purpose. Drug bosses procure large numbers of cheap cell phones, use them once, then discard them. Serious terrorists can do this too, but Joe Average cannot. And if by accident or collective stupidity we end up with a bad government, the self-imposed protections cited in the opinion are the first out the window. Freedom, safety...none of the above?

DeweySayenoff
DeweySayenoff

What really gets me about this whole "controversy" is how some rightist libertarian terrorist became a "hero" to the drooling-class for disclosing a practice that's been used since the 1960's.  Metadata mining.

Fifty years ago, the FBI used to use phone records the same way.  The subpoena would be issued and the collection of data would commence.  No one asked about it.  No one told about it.  It's been done the same way ever since.  Only today, there's more data than just the phone call time and duration and you can thank your cell phone company, and the various commercial business interests who want you to buy things, for the increase in the type and quantity of data they track.

I'd much rather be more proactive about stopping people from inflicting mass casualties on Americans at the expense of some information already collected by one's cell phone company (or other "free" service provider) and sold to other companies to make a buck off of you than see what's left of Americans as they're scraped off the walls after a terrorist attack.

I tend to think that most of the hype is due to those with very mushy brains (and certainly very mushy thinking) buying too much into partisan politics instead of bothering to actually do their own thinking for a change.

MikeHurly
MikeHurly

They do it because there are people out there who will fly airplanes into buildings with the intent to kill you and your kids. I recognize that to be able to defend against these type of people, I may lose some of my privacy. Given the choice between privacy or safety, I'll choose safety every time. Not just for me but for my family, my friends families, and your family. Then again, I have nothing to hide and have zero worries about my government listening in to my conversations. They have a lot bigger fish to fry. Are you doing something you shouldn't perhaps?

ShawnArscott
ShawnArscott

Imagine living in a household where everyone speed on one another. Spying is no way to live a good life. The land of the free and home of the brave has become the land to perverts and home of cowards afraid of their own shadows. What has happened to self respect and dignity. WE have lost the knowledge we are sacred, sovereign spiritual beings that have much more control over our lives than we think. We have given our power away to corrupt systems that use and abuse us. Its time to take personal responsibility and say no!. Spying does not keep us save - it opens to control over us by those who take pleasure in controlling things. A judge is subject to higher laws - such as do no harm and all life is sacred. Imagine if we all lived by this truth! We need new visions of what we can create together - will it be a prison or a paradise?

sourcetv
sourcetv

Free TV Channels from US , UK , Germany , France ( like HBO, FOX, BBC, CNN, Discovery etc ...) on http://sourcetv.ro ! Enjoy!

chrispy
chrispy

If you care so much about the NSA spying on you, then why are you using google and facebook? These companies are much worse than the NSA. Stop being a hypocrite! Use privacy-based services such as DuckDuckGo, Ravetree, and HushMail. Then, tell your friends and family to use these sites.

Openminded1
Openminded1

If you have nothing to hide or you are not a member of some cult or anti american group like f-ing muslims, you are joe citizen ,you have nothing to worry about. you can even call obama a moron liar racist muslim. The NSA has a job, it is important they have the hand they need to get the job done.

CarlLegg
CarlLegg

I don't want a nuke in my backyard. Oh please don't hurt the NSA. I will let them put video cameras and bugging devices in my home -- because then it will be even more safer, and they can make sure that no terrorists are in my home. And in my car, I welcome an NSA GPS, so they can find me in case a terrorist is trying to KILL me. I also want complete surveilance in my office, because I'm certain many terrorists come to my office all the time, and I just do not realize it.
 

The NSA is here to HELP you. Don't you people realize that? Terrorists, like communists in the 50's, are EVERYWHERE.

Realworldnonfantasyland
Realworldnonfantasyland

But if the Government has the data from my phone, then they are going to think i'm really important and will want to spy on me while I'm texting my girlfriend because spies care about what we are going to eat for dinner, and they will spy on my texts to my buddies because they care about you going out and getting drunk and the spies definitly care about what your opinion is on sports. 

anti-government
anti-government

@MikeHurly There are people out there who fly airplanes that drop bombs on babies & burn them to death.

We call them the US Air Force, etc. and pay their salaries. WE ARE THE TERRORISTS!~

On another note, being free means sometimes not being safe.

We seem to have forgotten that here in 21st Century America.

anti-government
anti-government

@Openminded1 You are NOT openminded if you want to control what other people do only if you disagree with them.

The basis of our form of government is individual liberty, not collective security.

anti-government
anti-government

@CarlLegg I believe that you have missed the point here. The NSA is a government boondoggle that cannot ultimately keep you safe from the terrors of life and, in the futile effort to be safe, we are told that we should surrender the Constitutional liberties that are the best thing about this country.

BAH HUMBUG!

Realworldnonfantasyland
Realworldnonfantasyland

@CarlLegg It is sad that I think some people do think like this.  In order for this kind of system to work in a country of 330 million people, you would need 165 million people spying on the other 165 million people.  We would need a really huge spy network to make that happen

Realworldnonfantasyland
Realworldnonfantasyland

In Other words, you are not important enough to be spied on.  The only way that you will become important is if you are coming across as calling people linked to terrorism.  If you are not calling people where our Government knows terrorist are at, THEN YOU ARE NOT IMPORTANT ENOUGH to waste time on. 

Realworldnonfantasyland
Realworldnonfantasyland

@anti-government People in Afghanastan are living 20 years longer since taliban rule left, 80 % less women die during childbirth over there .  Keep writing your narrative

Realworldnonfantasyland
Realworldnonfantasyland

@ShawnArscott Where people actually spied on their own families....I honestly don't know I have ever felt this fear that people like you feel from my government.  The only time I have ever been hassled by any form of goverment is when I was in a small college town who used underage alcohol violations as a revenue enhancement for the police department.  Other than that I have zero idea of where this whole government takes away my dignity and self respect thing. 

Openminded1
Openminded1

@anti-government First my post name is meant to be ironic, second I do not want to control but into days world of post 9/11 I do want my country to do what ever it takes to protect its people and even visitors to the U.S. The basis of our country has changed due to terrorist threats and as such we have to adjust to meet those threats. we have people living here that hate the USA. This is not 1776 or even 1956 it is 2014 on approach. we need so called collective security. get use to it the NSA is needed.

NaveedXVO
NaveedXVO

@Realworldnonfantasyland Not important enough to be spied on until you are. Suppose the Tea Party or Occupy Wall Street gets categorized as terrorists? The government abuses its power everyday and our only recourse is through the courts. Of course, going through the courts takes years of time and millions of dollars when you go against the federal government, all this time they can keep you locked up and they have the limitless purse of the taxpayer to fight you. Even if you win your life is destroyed.


The federal government has caused more pain and suffering in the US than third world maniacs ever could.

Realworldnonfantasyland
Realworldnonfantasyland

@anti-government we live in a country of whiney little babies and media outlets who will do anything possible to make a story.  Who are these MANY MANY PEOPLE who have been suspected terrorists...DON'T BE VAGUE.....obviously if many many people have been suspected as terrorists, then there have to be stories.  (Sure there are people who get hasseled at the airport because a few people in the country are afraid of terrorists taking over planes, not sure why though)

anti-government
anti-government

@Realworldnonfantasyland MANY PEOPLE IN THE USA HAVE BEEN DETAINED, DEGRADED OR JUST PLAIN HASSLED AS A RESULT OF BEING SUSPECTED TERRORISTS. WHAT "REAL WORLD" ARE YOU LIVING IN NOT TO KNOW THIS FACT? HAVE YOU DELIBERATELY BURIED YOUR HEAD IN THE SAND SO YOU COULD PRETEND THAT ALL IS WELL IN FORTRESS AMERIKA?

Realworldnonfantasyland
Realworldnonfantasyland

@NaveedXVO @Realworldnonfantasyland I guess I have zero idea what your argument is then.  It seemed like you were acting like America is a land of suffering, at the hands of the government.  Maybe I'm missing who is suffering

NaveedXVO
NaveedXVO

@Realworldnonfantasyland @NaveedXVO 

I guess I missed the part where Ghengis Khan stormed Washington DC and slaughtered all who resisted. How did I miss Stalin dropping a nuke on New York City? And the great German concentration camp in Utah where Hitler rounded up Americas Jews. Last I checked Iraqis couldn't stop killing each other long enough to even think of killing Americans. Ahh yes and the GREAT AND POWERFUL starving armies of North Korea. Good trolling!

Realworldnonfantasyland
Realworldnonfantasyland

@NaveedXVO @Realworldnonfantasyland But the US government has caused more pain and suffering by going to war with Afghanastan.............o besides the fact that the same amount of police officers in America has died in the line of duty as American Soliders have over there since 2003 and people now live 20 years longer on average than under Taliban rule, they say; 7 million more children attend school and women are 80 percent less likely to die in childbirth.

I know I know, these facts don't coincide with the fake narrative that everyone loves to draw up about America because its not easy to do a little bit of research

Realworldnonfantasyland
Realworldnonfantasyland

@NaveedXVO @Realworldnonfantasyland And I guess you missed your history lesson on Saddam and Stalin and Hitler and Kahn and the Kim dynasty.... How many people in America do you know who have suffered because of being labeled terrorists just out of curiousity. 

I know I know, they COULD, but you and I both know that they won't lock you up

Realworldnonfantasyland
Realworldnonfantasyland

@NaveedXVO @Realworldnonfantasyland The occupy wall street people would ask the government for a bomb because they think they deserve it because they were born in america, so I'm not really afraid of them being labeled terrorists....


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