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Supreme Court Refuses to Hear Case Against NSA Surveillance Program

by Shawn M. Griffiths, published

On Monday, the Supreme Court of the United States refused to hear a case brought by the Electronic Privacy Information Center which challenged the NSA's authority to collect massive amounts of call data (also known as metadata) from Americans without reasonable suspicion of terrorist ties. The court did not give comment on its decision and continues to remain silent on the issue as other lawsuits make their way through the federal judicial system.

At the core of EPIC's challenge is the assertion that the FISA Court overstepped its authority by allowing the NSA to collect American call data in bulk rather than limiting it to cases where there is a reasonable link to terrorism. Section 215 of the Patriot Act, the organization argues, only gives the US intelligence community the authority to collect business records that are relevant to an actual investigation and does not allow the NSA or any other agency to collect millions of records so they can pick through the data when they think it is relevant.

The issue is much larger than just the collection of metadata, but who has access to this information, how broadly this information is being shared, tracking cell phone GPS locations, and the impact the actions of the intelligence community have on the constitutional rights of Americans. Many would argue that with all of the concern surrounding these issues not only at home, but abroad, the Supreme Court will not be able to remain silent for too much longer.

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