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Judge Says NSA Phone Surveillance Is Constitutional

Judge Says NSA Phone Surveillance Is Constitutional
Image credit: associationsnow.com

A federal judge in New York has ruled that the National Security Agency's mass collection of phone data is constitutional, rejecting a challenge brought by the American Civil Liberties Union.

U.S. District Judge William Pauley's decision came just 11 days after a district judge in Washington ruled the opposite - that the agency's "almost Orwellian" surveillance program is likely unconstitutional. The ruling raises the likelihood that the issue will be settled by the Supreme Court.

In his 54-page decision, Pauley said there is no evidence that the government has used any of the data collected for purposes other than "investigating and disrupting" terror attacks.

"Technology allowed al-Qaida to operate decentralized and plot international terrorist attacks remotely. The bulk telephony metadata collection program represents the government's counter-punch: connecting fragmented and fleeting communications to re-construct and eliminate al-Qaida's terror network," he wrote.

The judge granted the government's motion to dismiss the case and denied the ACLU's motion for a preliminary injunction.

The ACLU is reportedly planning to appeal the decision, saying the ruling is "extremely disappointing" and downplays the surveillance program's privacy implications

Related: Marissa Mayer, Tim Cook & Other Tech Titans Meet With Obama on Health Care, Surveillance

Lauren Covello is deputy editor of Entrepreneur.com.

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