|Here’s what the 2nd Circuit Court (NYC) got very right in yesterday’s Patriot Act ruling. Congress never gave NSA security state bureaucrats unbounded authority to store and to search the phone records (metadata) of all and every law-abiding American citizen.
The Court also got it right that there is no constitutional difference between search by a human or by an algorithm designed by humans.
But the court utterly failed to take action on its legal findings and to rule these practices a blatant violation of the 4th Amendment. The 4th protects citizens against government search and seizure of our private effects without first getting a judge to sign off on particularized evidence that a crime was committed.
The court also failed to discuss that as yet unrebutted Snowden leaks showing that NSA bureaucrats are capturing, storing and running automated queries on nearly all of our personal data (phone, Internet searches and clicks, email, social media postings, snail-mail envelopes, on- and off-line transaction history, location, and more).
What Will Congress Do?
Either no member of Congress knew that government has been running a blatantly unconstitutional data dragnet. This would be the most chilling evidence yet that government bureaucracy is operating completely without direction or authority from the elected branch.
Or at least a few in Congress were complicit in this massive constitutional breach which, by the way, did next to nothing to catch terrorists.
Congress and the President are under pressure because the Patriot Act sunsets on June 1. President Obama wants to renew it, sticking a fig leaf over its 4th Amendment violations by outsourcing private data storage to commercial third parties.
If Congress gets all bipartisan and goes along with this, expect an encryption standards war between government and some of the big Internet companies whose customers will demand privacy.
Thanks for listening,