Turning down a major court challenge, a U.S federal judge has ruled that the data about most calls in the United States collected by the National Security Agency is legal. This sets the stage for a longer court battle over the calls surveillance programs of the NSA.
The judge William H. Pauley III in New York gave the decision in favor of the government saying that this program was a vital tool in Government’s “counter-punch” against the widely spread terror network of al Qaeda.
This ruling is different from a ruling by a District Judge of Columbia who said that the surveillance program was “almost certainly” in violation of the Constitution of the United States.
The decision by the court in New York is the latest progress in the issue of spying program of NSA which had been challenged by the privacy groups in courts over the years but the efforts could not gain traction because of lack of proof. However, everything changed significantly after an NSA contractor Edward Snowden offered a detailed account of the program.
The American Civil Liberties Union ( ACLU) which brought the case against NSA in New York has said that it is “extremely disappointed” with the ruling given by Judge Pauley and will appeal the decision in the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan.
At least other such cases are in courts waiting a verdict. If any of the appeals court terms the surveillance program unconstitutional, it is almost certain that the Supreme Court will review the case.