Two weeks after a federal judge in Washington D.C. ruled that NSA’s phone snooping was “almost certainly” unconstitutional, we have different judge “agreeing to disagree”; a federal judge in Manhattan ruled that the NSA’s actions were legal, setting the stage for a possible Supreme Court decision down the road.
ACLU brought the case to the New York court arguing that NSA’s actions were violating the constitutional rights of its members by collecting the metadata from ACLU phone calls. The organization is obviously not happy with the ruling, adding that it will appeal the decision to the Second U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan.
Meanwhile, the decision in Washington D.C. will be appealed by the government to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, and there are also three other cases against NSA’s practices pending.
This mess was started after that Patriot Act was enacted, allowing the government to collect records belonging to businesses they are deemed relevant to an investigation. The list of companies that have been included in this scheme includes the likes of Verizon, Apple and Google.
While some judges think the government has been acting against constitution, others disagree. The judge that ruled in favor of NSA referred to a 1979 case, Smith v. Maryland that held that “individuals have no legitimate expectation of privacy” concerning phone numbers they dial. At that time, judge argued that phone companies connect the calls and the public is aware that these carriers can record the numbers they call.
Needless to say, following the ruling, NSA was “pleased” with the decision…