When documents leaked by Edward Snowden revealed details about the NSA's bulk collection of phone records, many people were understandably outraged. But, the federal government has argued that the program is legal under the Patriot Act. Now, a federal appeals court has shot down that argument and ruled in favor of privacy.
[Judge Gerard E.] Lynch wrote that the text of the Patriot Act "cannot bear the weight the government asks us to assign to it, and that it does not authorize the telephone metadata program."
Under the program, the NSA collected metadata like the length of the call and the telephone numbers on either end. It then analyzed the data based on phone numbers associated with terrorist organizations. The court ruled that the program was not legal under the Patriot Act, but did not rule on the constitutionality of the bulk collection of metadata.