The Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board issued a 238 page report on January 23rd which concluded the National Security Agency’s ( NSA) bulk collection of telephone call records is illegal and should be ended.
The three-person majority panel found that the NSA’s telephone records program:
- Violates Section 215 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act
- Violates the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, and
- Raises concerns under the First and Fourth Amendments.
The majority found that the program poses “serious threats to privacy and civil liberty concerns as a policy matter.”
The board’s report has no legal authority, but it adds to a growing debate about how to balance privacy concerns with national security interests. The President’s Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technologies issued a report in December 2013 reaching many of the same conclusions and last year two federal courts rendered opposite opinions regarding the constitutionality of the program.
The matter will now probably be decided by the Supreme Court.