In a striking decision, a federal judge has found the NSA collection of phone records to be unconstitutional. Here is the decision:
So, why should you care? Well, for decades, prosecutors have been relying on court decisions, such as Smith v. Maryland that found it reasonable for the government to collect third-party records (e.g., bank, school, and medical records) without obtaining a warrant. Often, the records are obtained with a simple subpoena.
This new federal case begins to explore whether those records, because the world now collects digital information of previously private data in a sweeping manner, should be held to a higher standard of protection.
If this new approach becomes national law, then obtaining simple bank, school or medical records will become much more difficult.
The DOJ has already begun to explain why the judge is wrong and collection of such records is reasonable:
How do you think this will come out in the higher courts?
Supreme court will rule in favor of existing third-party doctrine, and Congress and state legislatures will start to erode away at it. The big driver will actually be businesses who don't like the expense of dealing with our subpoenas. ACLU and EFF will claim it was all their brilliant legal arguments. My prediction.
"For present purposes, you have to say that the trapping of information from one suspect is different, for God's sake, than trapping the data of every American who uses a telephone or the Internet," Sachs said in an interview Tuesday. "There's a distinction of volume, of context. But that's what the Supreme Court is going to have to decide."
Another federal voice
A federal judge ruled on Friday that the National Security Agency's bulk collection of millions of Americans' telephone and Internet records is legal and a critical component of the country's effort to combat the threat of terrorism.
The decision by U.S. District Judge William Pauley contrasts with a ruling earlier this month by U.S. District Court Judge Richard Leon and increases the likelihood that the issue will go before the U.S. Supreme Court.
The "government's subsequent querying of the telephony metadata does not implicate the Fourth Amendment—any more than a law enforcement officer's query of the FBI's fingerprint or DNA databases to identify someone," Judge Pauley wrote.This message has been edited. Last edited by: JB,
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