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Published on Dec 17, 2013 – A federal judge ruled Monday the National Security Agency”s bulk collection of American’s phone records “almost certainly” violates the Fourth Amendment’s prohibition against unreasonable searches. U.S. District Judge Richard Leon described the NSA’s activities as “almost Orwellian.” He wrote, “I cannot imagine a more ‘indiscriminate’ and ‘arbitrary invasion’ than this systematic and high-tech collection and retention of personal data on virtually every single citizen.” Judge Leon was appointed to the bench by Republican President George W. Bush in 2002. Leon suspended enforcement of his injunction against the program pending an expected appeal by the government. The lawsuit was brought by conservative attorney Larry Klayman, the founder of Judicial Watch and based on information leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. In a statement Monday, Snowden said, “I acted on my belief that the NSA’s mass surveillance programs would not withstand a constitutional challenge, and that the American public deserved a chance to see these issues determined by open courts. Today, a secret program authorized by a secret court was, when exposed to the light of day, found to violate Americans’ rights. It is the first of many.” We are joined by Sascha Meinrath, director of the New America Foundation’s Open Technology Institute. He served as an expert witnesses on the Review Group on Intelligence and Communications, which was tasked by President Obama to review NSA’s activities.

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White House task force recommends curbs to NSA surveillance

White House task force recommends major curbs on National Security Agency surveillance operations to dismay of Barack Obama’s national security team

(L-R): NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden and President Barack Obama

(L-R): NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden and President Barack Obama Photo: REUTERS/AFP

10:59PM GMT 18 Dec 2013

America’s spy chiefs should hand control of the country’s sweeping telephone data record collection to private telecommunications companies, according to a task force set up by President Barack Obama to review the controversial surveillance programme.

The panel of five experts also recommended that future eavesdropping of foreign leaders should only be approved by a president, not intelligence officials, if “rigorous” tests were passed.

The revelations that the National Security Agency (NSA) was collecting “metadata” from millions of telephone calls and monitoring the communications of allies such as Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, prompted widespread criticism in the US and abroad.

Mr Obama established the team of intelligence and legal experts to review NSA operations in response to the outcry that followed the leaks from Edward Snowden, a former agency contractor.

Although the panel recommended that the collection of bulk telephone data should continue, the proposed curbs were much more far-ranging than the president and his national security team expected.


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