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Radio News: Appeals court allows bulk phone collection

Sep 01, 2015 3:50 pm
Click here to play or download an audio version of this report. (1:40)

Joe Mullin at Ars Technica reports that in 2013 U.S. District Judge Richard Leon ruled against the National Security Agency's bulk collection of phone records but did not shut it down until an appeals court could weigh in. The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals last week reversed Klayman v. Obama, with one of the three judges, David Sentelle, saying it ought to be dismissed. "Judges Stephen Williams and Janice Rogers Brown declined to discuss the legality of the NSA’s program, and instead maintained that its opponents had not met the proper threshold for forcing a preliminary injunction, as the lower court had ordered a year and a half ago," Julian Hattem wrote in The Hill. The new USA Freedom Act passed in June, weakening and strengthening different parts of the Patriot Act, and allowing a 180-day window for continuing bulk warrantless surveillance. Mostly though, the judges sidestep the issue of Americans being spied on by their own government, and instead argue that the plaintiff in this particular case does not have standing to challenge the law. "Plaintiffs are Verizon Wireless subscribers and not Verizon Business Network Services subscribers," Brown wrote in her opinion. "Thus, the facts marshaled by plaintiffs do not fully establish that their own metadata was ever collected."