The telecommunications company Verizon participated in the US National Security Agency’s program for call data collection and question edits legality before the secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, earlier in this year. But the challenge was rejected according to the newly declassified court filings, The Washington Post reported.
As per the ruling by US District Court judge the company is sought to challenge the NSA’s call data collection and has said that they were likely unconstitutional and have violated the Fourth Amendment.
The court’s three-judge panel has denied the argument and said that the US Supreme Court had ruled that the collection of data about phone calls, the time they were made and the numbers which were dialed is not considered as a search. Hence, Americans should know that the numbers they dial are not private, so the Fourth Amendment is not applied. The court has ordered Verizon to continue giving the call data to NSA.
This challenge was arose on December 16, 2013 ruling by a judge after hearing a lawsuit which challenged the legality of a NSA surveillance program which is known as PRISM. After the leaks by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, this program was revealed in last summer.
In that case, a conservative activist, Larry Klayman, Charles and Mary Strange, parents of the NSA cryptologist who were killed in Afghanistan, argued that PRISM has violated the First, Fourth and the Fifth Amendments of the Constitution. Richard Leon, the judge hearing to their case, after listening to their arguments, had written a 68-page opinion that the program has almost violated the Fourth Amendment. He has also questioned the government to justify the existence of PRISM, and said if the program wasn’t effective, then it was not needed.
The actual argument was that the government said that PRISM helped in identifying possible terrorist threats quicker than in other ways. But, so far, the government has not presented any examples in such case. The Judge Leon wrote that the government has not yet cited a single instance where actually the analysis of NSA’s bulk metadata collection has helped in stopping an imminent attack or else helped the government to achieve an objective that was a real time-sensitive.
Leon’s opinion was criticized by FISA court judge Rosemary Collyer who said that the court found Klayman analysis by the Judge Leon to be unpersuasive and exits no more because it provided no modification, the process in which NSA produces the data. Collyer’s opinioned on 1979 case and said the government search was when the government didn’t violate a person’s privacy or physically intruding on a protected area of gathering information on the purpose.
Collyer, pointing to Leon, said that even after 35 years of that case, phones have been changed, but the metadata and the NSA is seeking information about dialed numbers and the duration and time and length of a call is still the same. The standard that was set back in 1979 is still applied the NSA Telephony metadata’s program has maintained consistent with the Supreme Court precedent without affected by time and technology.
The FISA court’s has ruled no bearing for the Klayman case, and it is still working its way through the courts.
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