The U.S. government’s mass surveillance of communications received a major setback today with a court of appeals ruling that the National Security Agency's bulk collection of phone records is illegal, said Amnesty International.
"For almost two years since the Snowden revelations, the U.S. government has claimed the bulk collection of phone records is legitimate. Today's decision is a sign that the case for mass surveillance programs is crumbling," said Sherif Elsayed-Ali, Deputy Director of Global Issues at Amnesty International.
"This is just one of several court challenges questioning the legal basis of the mass surveillance programs pursued by the USA and its allies. This should be the beginning of the end as governments are forced to face facts and admit that their surveillance program have gone far beyond the remit of the law. This decision should spur Congress to let the sun set on section 215 of the USA Patriot Act which has been used to conduct surveillance far beyond even our worst fears.
"Two governments, France and Canada, who this week voted on laws that would grant far-reaching surveillance powers, should take note that similar powers are being successfully challenged in the USA."
Later this month, Congress will vote on the USA Freedom Act, a bill designed to limit mass surveillance powers created by the 2001 Patriot Act.
Rights groups yesterday called on House and Senate leaderships opposing a bill that would reauthorize Section 215 of the Patriot Act without modifying it.
On Tuesday, French deputies in the National Assembly voted in favour of an intelligence bill rights groups warn could hand authorities extensive powers to monitor online and offline communications without adequate checks and balances. https://www.amnesty.org/en/articles/news/2015/05/france-surveillance-state/