A U.S. federal judge has dealt a blow, at least a temporary one, to the National Security Associations bulk collection of domestic phone records program, ordering the agency to shut it down. The order comes just weeks before the NSA is to launch a new collection program.

Judge Richard J. Leon of  the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia says the program is most likely unconstitutional.

In his ruling, Judge Leon writes, “With the government’s authority to operate the bulk Telephony Metadata Program quickly coming to an end, this case is perhaps the last chapter in the judiciary’s evaluation of this particular program’s compatibility with the Constitution. It will not, however, be the last chapter in the ongoing struggle to balance privacy rights and national security interests under our Constitution in an age of evolving technological wizardry.”

Under the program, the NSA has been collecting Americans’ phone records in bulk from telephone companies, using the data to analyze and track social links between people in its hunt for hidden associates of terrorism suspects.

Judge Leon cited one specific case in his cease and desist orders, telling the NSA to stop collecting phone records of one Verizon customer – a lawyer in California.  He writes he does so knowing that the Justice Department has said that blocking the NSA’s collection of just one person’s records might require shutting down the entire program because it would be technically difficult to screen him out.

The Justice Department says it is reviewing Judge Leon’s decision but made no further comment on whether it would appeal the decision.

Prior to the decision, the NSA sent a memo to Congress saying that testing of the phone data replacement system has begun.

Sign Up for Our Newsletters

Get notified of the best deals on our WordPress themes.

You May Also Like

Top Colleges Now Luring Promising Video Game Players With Lucrative Scholarships

Bucking the notion that video games use up time that would better…

White-Collared Thieves In NY Are Stealing From The Poor To Give To The Rich

In New York City, white-collar criminals are fooling people into giving up…

EFF Demanding Free Speech Be Upheld In Posting 3D Files Online

In a recent court argument, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) said that…

Ten Off The Radar Places You Need To Visit This Summer

Summer’s here and that means its travel season! To help you make…