Time Magazine has published an article by David Cole, the George J. Mitchell Professor in Law and Public Policy at Georgetown University Law Center, providing analysis of the recent federal appeals court ruling that the National Security Agency’s controversial collection of millions of Americans’ phone records is illegal.
The court’s decision turned on the meaning of Section 215 of the USA Patriot Act, passed shortly after 9/11. It authorizes the government to obtain records from businesses if they are “relevant” to an “authorized investigation … of international terrorism.” This language would plainly enable the NSA to obtain the phone calling records, for example, of a suspected terrorist, or of persons closely connected to him. But in a secret interpretation allowed by a secret intelligence court in 2006, the NSA asserted that this provision empowered it to obtain the phone records of every American, regardless of whether they were in any way connected to terrorism. It’s that interpretation that the U.S. Court of Appeals wisely rejected today.
You can read the entire article at http://time.com/3850550/nsa-ruling-is-a-victory-for-privacy.