D.C. Circuit overturns ban on NSA mass data collection

Tuesday, September 01, 2015 by

(NationalSecurity.news) The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals has lifted a ban imposed by a lower court against a National Security Agency call records program on the grounds that the plaintiff was unable to prove that his own phone records were collected and, therefore, lacks standing to sue, The Washington Post reported.

The ruling lifts an earlier injunction against the NSA’s data collection that was imposed – and then temporarily stayed – by a District Court judge in December 2013.

In that earlier ruling, U.S. District Judge Richard J. Leon found that a lawsuit filed on behalf of Larry Klayman, head of Judicial Watch, a conservative legal activist group, “demonstrated a substantial likelihood of success” in proving that his Fourth Amendment privacy right was violated by the NSA program and that it was thus likely unconstitutional.

The appeals court, however, reversed Leon’s ruling, because Klayman “’lack[s] direct evidence’ that records pertaining to his calls ‘have actually been collected,” Circuit Court Judge Stephen F. Williams wrote, as reported by the Post.

In June, Congress ostensibly ended the program after passing legislation barring the federal government from mass-collection of phone and other electronic data. However, the Post noted, the NSA is continuing it as it transitions the program to private telecom companies by November. Meanwhile, an appeals court in New York is hearing a challenge from the American Civil Liberties Union to that transition program.

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