The Guardian reports: The US court of appeals has ruled that the bulk collection of telephone metadata is unlawful, in a landmark decision that clears that way for a full legal challenge against the National Security Agency.
A panel of three federal judges for the second circuit overturned an earlier ruling that the controversial surveillance practice first revealed to the US public by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden in 2013 could not be subject to judicial review.
But the judges also waded into the charged and ongoing debate over the reauthorization of a key Patriot Act provision currently before US legislators. That provision, which the appeals court ruled the NSA program surpassed, will expire on June 1 amidst gridlock in Washington on what to do about it.
The judges opted not to end the domestic bulk collection while Congress decides its fate, calling judicial inaction “a lesser intrusion” on privacy than at the time the case was initially argued. [Continue reading…]