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NSA Program Deemed Illegal

By Amanda Balbi
June 1, 2015

On May 7, a federal appeals court ruled that the National Security Agency (NSA) surveillance program that collected millions of Americans’ telephone records is unlawful. The Court held that Section 215, “Access to certain business records for foreign intelligence and international terrorism investigations,” of the USA Patriot Act doesn’t allow for the collection of private metadata.


Then, on May 13, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the USA Freedom Act, which shut down parts of the Agency’s program and now requires the NSA to obtain a court order before collecting phone records.


The Patriot Act of 2001 was signed into law by former President George W. Bush in response to the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and allows the government to use previously established tools to monitor possible terrorists. But in 2013, former NSA contractor Edward Snowden exposed the true scope of the collection, leading to increased scrutiny of the program and more questions about Americans’ right to privacy.


Amanda Balbi is copy editor of Strategic Finance magazine. You can reach her at abalbi@imanet.org.
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