Tuesday, May 26, 2015

There Never Was Authorization for the NSA Data Grab, and Yet...

...it gets weird from there. A court has declared a portion of the Patriot Act as never legally capable of authorizing NSA's huge data grab. Yet that isn't stopping the Congress from attempting to renew the Patriot Act so that the illegal data grab can continue. Only in America? Probably not, but we do look a bit like a banana republic:
In the wee hours of Saturday morning, the U.S. Senate played host to a moment that took mass surveillance on the phone records of Americans from outrage to farce.
The NSA’s phone dragnet had already been declared illegal.
Earlier this month, a federal appeals court ruled that while the surveillance agency has long claimed to be acting in accordance with Section 215 of the Patriot Act, the text of that law in fact authorizes no such program. The Obama Administration has been executing a policy that the legislature never passed into being.
But the law that doesn’t even authorize the program is set to expire at the end of the month. And so the court reasoned that Congress could let it expire or vote to change it. For this reason, the court declined to issue an order shutting the program down.
Read the whole send-up from Atlantic's Conor Friedersdorf. Will the Obama administration press Congress to re-authorize the act that never allowed them to do what they never stopped doing? Will the Senate take on the House, which has renewed the bill without the offensive portion that never allowed the surveillance in the first place? Will the American people even notice, or even care?

Because to keep us free, it's important to take away our freedom. Or something. Also, will the NSA just keep doing it anyway?

Fun fact: We'd never even know about this without Edward Snowden...

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