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Friday 6 January 2012

Court upholds spying law, revives suits over NSA 'dragnet'

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled today the federal government can be sued for the National Security Agency's warrantless "dragnet" of Americans' telephone conversations and e-mails.
But in a separate opinion, another three-judge panel of the San Francisco-based court upheld the 2008 law that gave telecommunications companies immunity for aiding the NSA in its hunt for terrorists.
A USA TODAY investigation revealed in May 2006 that the NSA had been secretly collecting call records of tens of millions of Americans, using data provided by AT&T, Verizon and BellSouth. Operating out of a secret room in an AT&T office in San Francisco, the NSA compiled what was described as "the largest database ever assembled in the world."
Two groups of customers sued the NSA, arguing it violated their privacy by collecting Internet data from AT&T and other big telecoms. The 9th Circuit overturned a lower-court ruling that had dismissed the suits as a "general grievance" from the public, and not an actionable claim, Wired explains.
Courthouse News Service has details on the rulings.

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