A Federal Appeals court ruled that the NSA’s phone record surveillance program, exposed by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, was illegal and potentially unconstitutional. In 2013, Snowden exposed the government program, which in turn led to his exile from the western world. Snowden is still wanted by the United States for treason.
The National Security Administration’s phone snooping program not only has been ruled illegal, but also worthless. In other words, spying on American’s phones did nothing to thwart any terrorist attacks.
The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals condemned the NSA as having broke the law when it secretly collected “phone metadata.” The program gave the NSA access to most of America’s phone records.
The court looked over a couple of cases, including Basaalay Moalin and our Somali immigrants who were charged with fundraising for terrorists. In both cases, the court ruled that the NSA’s phone record collection program did not contribute to their convictions.
“To the extent the public statements of government officials created a contrary impression, that impression is inconsistent with the contents of the classified record,” Judge Marsha Berzon wrote.
In 2015, Congress passed the USA Freedom Act which ended the controversial NSA phone record collection program. But that’s done little to change the United State’s government perception of Snowden.Former President Barack Obama’s administration labeled Snowden a wanted man and current President Donald Trump has done little to curb the label. Although Trump did say over the summer that he’d look into a potential Snowden pardon, so there is some progress in the matter.
Today’s court ruling adds to ongoing revelations that Snowden disclosed a completely illegal and unconstitutional program. The fact that he remains in exile, wanted by the United States, is a deep, historical injustice.
If history has taught us anything, it's the importance of using a VPN to hide your web browsing from regimes which feel a need to spy on you.