Federal Judge Strikes Down NSA’s Bulk Metadata Program: “I Cannot Imagine a More ‘Indiscriminate’ and ‘Arbitrary Invasion’ Than This Systematic and High-Tech Collection and Retention of Personal Data On Virtually Every Single Citizen”

“The Government Does Not Cite A Single Instance In Which Analysis Of The NSA’s Bulk Metadata Collection Actually Stopped An Imminent Attack”

A federal court has just struck down the NSA’s bulk metadata spying program today.

The court notes:

The Government does not cite a single instance in which analysis of the NSA’s bulk metadata collection actually stopped an imminent attack, or otherwise aided the Government in achieving any objective that was time-sensitive in nature.

***

There is no indication that these revelations were immediately useful or that they prevented an impending attack.

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I have serious doubts about the efficacy of the metadata collection program as a means of conducting time-sensitive investigations in cases involving imminent threats of terrorism.

***

The Fourth Amendment typically requires “a neutral and detached authority be interposed between the police and the public,” and it is offended by “general warrants” and laws that allow searches to be conducted “indiscriminately and without regard to their connection with [a] crime under investigation.”

I cannot imagine a more “indiscriminate” and “arbitrary invasion” than this systematic and high-tech collection and retention of personal data on virtually every single citizen for purposes of querying and analyzing it without prior judicial approval. Surely, such a program infringes on “that degree of privacy” that the Founders enshrined in the Fourth Amendment. Indeed, I have little doubt that the author of our Constitution, James Madison, who cautioned us to beware “the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power,” would be aghast.

The judge is right:

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