Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Federal appeals court says warrantless wiretapping is legal

If you are an advocate for privacy, and hate police wanting to spy on you without items such as a warrant, I have some bad news. A federal appeals court has ruled today that the US government can tap into Americans' communications without worrying over frivolous things like "being sued" by its people. In what most sane civilians will probably see as a depressing loss of protection, a three-judge panel of the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that citizens can sue the United States for damages stemming from the use of information collected via wiretap, but not for the collection of information itself. Wired reports that Judge Michael Daly Hawkins and Judge Harry Pregerson added the following: "Although such a structure may seem anomalous and even unfair, the policy judgment is one for Congress, not the courts."


The back and forth surrounding this issue extends back to Congress' authorization of the Bush spy program in 2008, and more specifically, a pair of US lawyers and the now-defunct al-Haramain Islamic Foundation -- a group that was granted over $2.5 million combined in legal fees after proving that they were spied on sans warrants.

For all of the information in its glory, you can look at the PDF below. If you have any thoughts to this, let me know of them in the comments below.

Source: US Court of Appeals (PDF)