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Iran Press TV

US judges concerned about NSA's phone call surveillance

Iran Press TV

Wed Sep 3, 2014 6:37AM GMT

A panel of judges in the United States has voiced concern about the National Security Agency's phone surveillance program's vast reach at an appeals hearing.

Judge Gerard Lynch said on Tuesday that the US government is making 'an argument that says nobody's got any constitutional privacy rights in anything anymore' if they hand over information to third parties.

The three-judge panel from the US Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit was hearing an appeal about a lawsuit that the American Civil Liberties Union filed against the US government.

The phone surveillance program requires the government to collect almost every US citizen's phone records.

The judges argue that the program fails on both constitutional and statutory grounds. But the panel has yet to indicate when they will decide the appeal in the case.

The 2001 Patriot Act authorized the government to collect business records if they were deemed 'relevant' to a terrorism investigation while ACLU says that calling every American's phone records 'relevant' to terrorism is a twisted interpretation of the law.

'If everything is relevant, the relevance simply drops out. It doesn't exist,' Judge Robert Sack said Tuesday. 'The notion that everything is relevant is very troubling, at least.'

But Assistant Attorney General Stuart Delery said that the government must collect almost every American's phone records, because 'going in, the government doesn't know which of the metadata might reveal an important connection to an identified terrorist.'


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