It was only right that NSA destroyed the illegally acquired phone records in their spying program. This affected Americans over the last decade. It was expected to happen after current litigation ended and a new surveillance law was installed, according to The Director of National Intelligence stated Monday, as reported by the Wall Street Journal.
The mass collection of cell phone records was illegal because:
- It violated the Fourth Amendment of illegal search and seizure.
- It violated the civil liberties of ordinary Americans
- It wasn’t an effective tool against terrorism.
The new law, called the USA Freedom Act, signed early last month made did not allow the bulk collection of phone records, but it did, however, allow them to collect them straight from the phone companies via a court order.. Under this new law, that gave the agency six months to change things over to the new system. That meant the old records had to be destroyed. This included phone numbers, length of time, and everything else that went along with it. The records that were involved in current court cases were kept until they were ended.
The old law was started under President Bush and was part of the U.S. Patriot Act, Section 215. It was discovered in 2013 when Edward Snowden, a former NSA employee, leaked information to the media. According to an article written in December 2013 from CBC News, the old system of collecting massive phone records violated the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution regarding illegal search. Also, it wasn’t an effective method of fighting the growing terrorist threat in the United States. Even though President Obama praised this program at first, there wasn’t any solid evidence from the agency that it really stopped terrorism.
The last time anyone looked, the United States was a democracy, not a dictatorship. A lot of the actions of previous administrations operated on fear which caused them to act irrationally. Nothing was exact in times of war, but this was going too far. The only time ths kind of thing was done was when the person in question visited areas of the globe well-known for terrorist activity or became an ISIS sympathizer via social media.
Another reason why the outdated system was under fire because it violated the civil liberties of ordinary Americans in that ‘metadata’, information collected from cell phones, was also a violation of the law if there wasn’t reasonable doubt. The ACLU was successful in overturning the collection of phone data being legal in September 2014. This was different from the decision handed down in 2013, in which the judge left the decision to other judges, but compared the old system to George Orwell’s “1984” in his 68 page opinion.
- The government did not have the right to collect information on a large scale as stated in Section 215 of the act above.
- It also had a broad reach in that this decision covered other things besides phone records.
- Cell phone information was hypersensitive and told a lot about a person’s habits
- Review by one’s enemies or adversaries
Edward Snowden was correct when he stated that the law wouldn’t pass muster and it didn’t.