The Electronic Privacy Information Center, also known as EPIC, skipped lower federal courts and took their petition against the NSA straight to the Supreme Court.
They claimed that a secret federal court improperly authorized the government to collect electronic records from telecom giant Verizon and leading Internet companies, including Microsoft, Apple, Google, Yahoo and Facebook.
The court denied the petition on Monday and will allow the NSA to keep spying on American citizens’ phone records, according to CNN. For now, anyway. The NSA has publicly acknowledged it received secret court approval to collect vast amounts of metadata from telecommunications and internet companies, and EPIC says it Obama administration should have to publicly explain its legal justification for the spying program.
“Telephone records, even without the content of the calls, can reveal an immense amount of sensitive, private information. There are no reasonable grounds for the NSA to have access to every call record of every Verizon customer,” said Marc Rotenberg, president of EPIC.
The group argued that stripping the power of the NSA to collect metadata would be beneficial to the Supreme Court, itself, relegating power back where it should be. “Because the NSA sweeps up judicial and congressional communications, it inappropriately arrogates exceptional power to the executive branch.”
While the NSA may still be able to monitor calls, the information collected only includes the numbers, time, and length of phone calls to and from the United States in the past five years. However, if it makes you feel any more secure, it does not include the location or actual monitoring of the conversations themselves, because in order to do that, the NSA would require a separate, specifically targeted search warrant.
So, we know what’s next to go, then.
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