Appeals court finds NSA’s bulk phone data collection was unlawful

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Edward Snowden leaked information about the NSA’s mass surveillance activities, back in 2013.


Screenshot by Terry Collins/CNET

A federal appeals court ruled Wednesday that the US National Security Agency’s bulk collection of citizens’ phone records was against the law. The program, now ended, collected records from phone carriers about who called whom. The massive collection went beyond the scope of what Congress allowed under a foundational surveillance law, the panel of judges ruled, adding that the program may have violated the US Constitution.

The collection program was first revealed to the public in 2013 by reporters who received a document leak from Edward Snowden, a former NSA contractor. Snowden also revealed several other programs in which the NSA and agencies in cooperating countries tapped into the backbone of the internet in the name of foreign surveillance. The NSA news outraged privacy advocates and US citizens whose data was caught

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