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U.S. Federal judges split over NSA phone surveillance lawsuit

English.news.cn   2013-12-28 13:58:57            

NEW YORK, Dec. 27 (Xinhua) -- A New York federal judge ruled on Friday that the National Security Agency's (NSA) mass call-tracking program is lawful, conflicting with the ruling made by another federal judge in Washington D.C. weeks ago.

The sweeping program "represents the government's counter-punch" to eliminate al-Qaida's terror network by connecting fragmented and fleeting communications, Judge William H. Pauley III of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York said in a 54-page opinion.

"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," he wrote.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which filed on June 11 a lawsuit in New York challenging the constitutionality of the NSA's mass collection of Americans' phone records, planned to appeal the ruling to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals.

"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relevant statutes, understates the privacy implications of the government's surveillance and misapplies a narrow and outdated precedent to read away core constitutional protections," said Jameel Jaffer, ACLU deputy legal director.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," he said.

In a previous ruling, Judge Richard J. Leon of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, said the program "infringes on 'that degree of privacy' that the founders enshrined in the Fourth Amendment," which prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures. He ordered the government to stop collecting data on the plaintiffs.

The Guardian revealed in June details of the NSA's domestic spying activities, including a secret order from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC), which grants government agencies the warrants to scoop data from individuals and companies.

Related:

Video>>>Snowden urges end to mass government surveillance

Snowden calls for ending "mass surveillance" in Christmas message

LONDON, Dec. 25 (Xinhua) -- Edward Snowden, a former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor, said in his Christmas message that "privacy matters" and called for ending the "mass surveillance," according to a video broadcast on Christmas Day via Britain's Channel 4 television.

"A child born today will grow up with no conception of privacy at all. They'll never know what it means to have a private moment to themselves -- an unrecorded, unanalyzed thought," Snowden said in the video message. Full story

UN General Assembly committee adopts anti-spying resolution

UNITED NATIONS, Nov. 26 (Xinhua) -- A UN rights committee on Tuesday passed a "right to privacy" resolution drafted by Germany and Brazil, which have led international criticism of reported U.S. spying of their leaders.

The Third Committee of the UN General Assembly, which deals with social, humanitarian and cultural affairs, unanimously adopted the resolution, saying surveillance and data interception by governments and companies "may violate or abuse human rights." Full story

Editor: chengyang
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