Yesterday, Judge Richard Leon released an order against the NSA forcing the agency to shut down its bulk telephone metadata collection program before the scheduled date of the 29th of November. Within his 43-page opinion Judge Leon noted that even though the program was already set to be shut down, he decided to end the program early, “because the loss of constitutional freedoms for even one day is a significant harm.”
For years the NSA has operated in the shadows, collecting phone calls, text messages and other types of private conversations from Americans. Elizabeth Goitein, who is the co-director of New York University’s National Security program, said that the order was “a testament to the importance of the rule of the law,” hinting at the violation of some of our basic civil liberties, such as a right to privacy.
At the same time, Goitein also acknowledged that a government unit of some sort would likely appeal the decision and the order would end up in a stay, meaning that the NSA would be allowed to conduct spying operations on civilians until the original end date of November 29.
Ultimately, what does this really mean for the NSA’s ability to spy on American citizens whenever they please? It may even be possible that another extension is granted to the NSA after the 29th of November, allowing them to do whatever they please for as long as the agency wishes. At the end of the day, has anything really changed as the result of Edward Snowden giving up his freedoms to inform us of what was going on behind the curtain?
Image Credit: http://bit.ly/1SFhFam | Wikimedia Commons