CEI Responds to Ruling Striking Down NSA Phone Record Collection

CEI’s VP of Policy Wayne Crews, Jr. today responded to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals ruling against National Security Agency’s (NSA) collection of phone records:

The court has ruled that the NSA’s bulk, warrantless collection of millions of Americans’ phone records is illegal because it "exceeds the scope" of congressional authorization.

This ruling affirms the wisdom of the citizenry's watching and regulating secret government activities rather than passively being the target of such.

Broadly, the post-9/11 surveillance state impacts the American economy as well as our civil liberties. The National Security Agency itself is a “black agency” whose budget we do not know for sure but has been estimated at around $10 billion annually. The New America Foundation reported that “economic costs [of surveillance] could be staggering,” and that, for example, the “NSA’s PRISM program is predicted to cost the cloud computing industry from $22 to $180 billion over the next three years” and result in a widespread loss of trust in American data firms and contribute to cybersecurity vulnerabilities.

The federal government clearly expects us to give up our liberties for its centralized vision of our security, when there are less brittle and invasive alternatives. Worse is when we give up our liberties to an unaccountable government whose very philosophy and approach undermines genuine security and cybersecurity.

See more of CEI’s work on cybersecurity issues here:
Cyber-security Finger-Pointing
Giving Chase In Cyberspace: Does Vigilantism Against Hackers Make Sense
Preventing Identity Theft and Data Security Breaches: The Problem With Regulation