The gavel comes down against the NSA: On Thursday of this week, The United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, ruled that the National Security Agency’s (NSA) hotly debated policy of collecting bulk data from American citizens’ telephone conversations, was unconstitutional. This ruling in ACLU, et al. v. James Clapper, et al., is a blow to the U.S. Government’s interpretation of Section 215 of the Patriot Act, which allowed for this practice. The Appeals Court here overturned the lower Court’s ruling that the collection of this metadata, precluded judicial review and was not a violation of the Fourth and First Amendments to the U.S. Constitution. The Court here expressly ruled that Section 215 of the Patriot Act is not beyond judicial review and that the collection of this metadata, was not constitutional.
What does this mean for the Patriot Act, which comes up for re-authorization on June 1, 2015? Besides the political ramifications that the Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell (R. Ky), is firmly against any change in the law, this could be the beginning of a crack in the armor of what lengths the government can go to in order to protect “national security,” while preserving and protecting American citizens’ civil rights. Let us hope that our government gets the message soon that just because the technology is there, it does not mean that it is right to use.