Month after month there has been one revelation after another about how the National Security Agency (NSA) collects information from people both inside and outside the US. Now, a judge has finally paid attention to these activities and ruled that the NSA can't simply run willy-nilly over US citizens' privacy rights.
Leon, a George W. Bush appointee to the US District Court of the District of Columbia, wrote that he could not imagine a more "'indiscriminate' and ‘arbitrary invasion’ than this systematic and high-tech collection and retention of personal data on virtually every single citizen for purposes of querying it and analyzing it without judicial approval."
Be that at it may, Leon believes it's also unconstitutional. Even with his strong opinion that the NSA is in the wrong for collecting this data, Leon's preliminary injunction does not require the NSA to stop its data collection.
Instead, his preliminary injunction, which specifically deals with the NSA from collecting metadata pertaining to the Verizon accounts of Klayman and one of his clients, Charles Strange, the father of a deceased Navy SEAL, has been stayed. This gives the government a chance to appeal his injunction before he rules that the NSA must stop gathering metadata without a warrant.
This is believed to be the first significant judicial setback for the NSA’s surveillance program since former NSA contractor Edward Snowden started leaking NSA governments. Before that, the NSA's metadata program had been approved multiple times by US Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.
For now, nothing has changed. The NSA is still free to gather data on phone calls made in the US. This injunction serves notice that may not be the case for much longer.