recommended reading

Judge Doubts NSA Program Is Constitutional—but Upholds It Anyway

360b/Shutterstock.com

A federal judge in Idaho upheld the NSA's controversial phone surveillance program Tuesday.

But Judge B. Lynn Winmill seemed to invite the Supreme Court to overturn his decision. He suggested that the program, which collects data on millions of U.S. phone calls, likely violates the Fourth Amendment's prohibition of unreasonable searches and seizures.

Winmill upheld the program because he concluded that his hands were tied by current Supreme Court precedent.

He pointed to the Supreme Court's 1979 decision in Smith v. Maryland, which held that people don't expect privacy in the phone numbers they dial.

The controversial NSA program, which was revealed by Edward Snowden last year, collects "metadata" such as phone numbers, call times, and call durations, but not the contents of any conversations.

Last year, Richard Leon, a federal judge in Washington, D.C., ruled that the program was likely unconstitutional. Leon argued the NSA's surveillance is far greater than what the court envisioned in Smith v. Maryland, and that the ubiquity of cell phones means that metadata is more revealing than it used to be.

In Tuesday's decision, Winmill wrote that Leon crafted a "thoughtful and well-written decision."

"Judge Leon's decision should serve as a template for a Supreme Court opinion," he wrote. "And it might yet."

But he concluded that he is bound to follow the Smith ruling until the Supreme Court overturns it.

(Image via 360b / Shutterstock.com)

Threatwatch Alert

Stolen credentials

Hackers Steal $31M from Russian Central Bank

See threatwatch report

JOIN THE DISCUSSION

Close [ x ] More from Nextgov
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from Nextgov.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

    Download
  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

    Download
  • PIV- I And Multifactor Authentication: The Best Defense for Federal Government Contractors

    This white paper explores NIST SP 800-171 and why compliance is critical to federal government contractors, especially those that work with the Department of Defense, as well as how leveraging PIV-I credentialing with multifactor authentication can be used as a defense against cyberattacks

    Download
  • Toward A More Innovative Government

    This research study aims to understand how state and local leaders regard their agency’s innovation efforts and what they are doing to overcome the challenges they face in successfully implementing these efforts.

    Download
  • From Volume to Value: UK’s NHS Digital Provides U.S. Healthcare Agencies A Roadmap For Value-Based Payment Models

    The U.S. healthcare industry is rapidly moving away from traditional fee-for-service models and towards value-based purchasing that reimburses physicians for quality of care in place of frequency of care.

    Download
  • GBC Flash Poll: Is Your Agency Safe?

    Federal leaders weigh in on the state of information security

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.