ACLU to appeal federal judge’s ruling declaring NSA mass surveillance to be lawful
By End the Lie
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has already stated that they will appeal a Friday ruling handed down by a federal judge that declared the mass surveillance program run by the National Security Agency (NSA) to be lawful.
Friday’s ruling sharply contrasts with another federal judge’s ruling issued earlier this month in which he found the NSA’s bulk collection of phone records to be likely unconstitutional.
The latest ruling dealt with the dragnet collection of the phone and internet records of Americans, which U.S. District Judge William Pauley said is just part of the government’s counterterrorism efforts.
However, the other federal judge said that the government couldn’t show an instance of the NSA collection thwarting a terrorist attack or aiding in “achieving any objective that was time-sensitive in nature.”
In Pauley’s 54-page ruling, he said that the NSA surveillance program “represents the government’s counterpunch” to the threat of terrorism, according to USA Today.
Such surveillance measures will assist in “connecting fragmented and fleeting communications to reconstruct and eliminate al-Qaeda’s terror network,” Pauley ruled.
Pauley said that the NSA surveillance program must collect everything in order for it to work, going as far as to write that it “only works because it collects everything.”
In issuing his opinion, Pauley dismissed the ACLU’s attempt to challenge the constitutionality of the NSA program.
“There 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,” Pauley wrote, according to the International Business Times.
Yet Pauley acknowledged the “unintentional violation of guidelines.” Previously, it was reported that there were numerous instances of the agency violating their own restrictions, including instances of agents spying on loved ones and former spouses.
He wrote that the violations “appear to stem from human error and the incredibly complex computer programs that support this vital tool.”
Pauley wrote that the right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure, which is codified in the Fourth Amendment, “is fundamental, but not absolute.”
“Every day, people voluntarily surrender personal and seemingly-private information to transnational corporations, which exploit that data for profit,” Pauley wrote, saying that few think twice about it even though it is more invasive than the NSA’s bulk data collection.
“We are extremely disappointed with this decision, which misinterprets the relevant statutes, understates the privacy implications of the government’s surveillance, and misapplies a narrow and outdated precedent to read away core constitutional protections,” said Jameel Jaffer, ACLU deputy legal director.
“As another federal judge and the president’s own review group concluded last week, the National Security Agency’s bulk collection of telephony data constitutes a serious invasion of Americans’ privacy,” Jaffer said.
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