And so the uphill battle begins.
Earlier today a US federal judge ordered the NSA to stop its surveillance efforts of 300 million American and UK citizens, and demanded they destroy the records collected on all of them in the past several years.
US District Court Judge Richard Leon has officially declared the blanket, dragnet-style surveillance of Americans unconstitutional in a landmark case which is sure to echo throughout the internal justice system and beyond. Claiming the program violates rights put in place hundreds of years ago by the Fourth Amendment, he reprimanded the rogue outfit for refusing to provider any viable proof their overzealous attempts at national security had yielded any substantial evidence of terrorist activity since the uptick in surveillance behavior since the early 2000’s and beyond.
NSA lawyers have attempted to argue that merely collecting information on the numbers called by a specific number, rather than the content of the calls themselves, renders them immune to prosecution under a bill passed nearly 35 years ago in the Smith vs. Maryland case, although it’s clear the implications of this ruling are far outdated and do not apply to the rapidly shifting world of technology we live in today.
“The ubiquity of phones has dramatically altered the quantity of information that is now available and, more importantly, what that information can tell the Government about people’s lives,” the judge wrote.
Of course, this gesture is more symbolic than pragmatic, as a single judge from a lone district doesn’t wield nearly enough power to shut down an entire agency or call their policies into question. However minute the step may be, it’s a big one taken in the right direction, and at this point it’s the best we can hope for on the road to some kind of recovery.