Photo: REX USA.
Eavesdropping of the regular? As of this morning, The New York Times is reporting that a New York district judge has made a ruling regarding action brought against the National Security Agency by the American Civil Liberties Union, alleging that the systematic monitoring of American phones is unlawful. Judge William Pauley granted the federal government's motion to dismiss the claims.
Pauley is quoted as saying that "this blunt tool only works because it collects everything...While robust discussions are underway across the nation, in Congress and at the White House, the question for this court is whether the government’s bulk telephony metadata program is lawful. This court finds it is." According to the extensively detailed decision, Pauley found that while the NSA is indeed collecting data on virtually every telephone call in the nation, it has not used that information for anything other than the investigation of potential terrorist attacks. While this issue is obviously of national interest, and a serious question for the judicial system, it's all the more likely now that the case will make its way to the Supreme Court. (If you recall, Judge Pauley's ruling conflicts with decisions made by lower courts. Previously, a Washington, D.C. district judge called the program "almost Orwellian").