(image by ElectronicFrontierFoundation)
Less than two weeks ago U.S. District Court Judge Richard J. Leon in Washington ruled against the NSA's data mining collection of meta data calling it "Orwellian" and "probably unconstitutional".
On Friday another U.S. District Court Judge William H. Pauley in New York found the NSA's meta data methods constitutional and didn't violate the 4 th Amendment.
With these two contradictory rulings the final outcome is probably headed to the Supreme Court. But before that can happen, the two rulings will almost certainly be appealed and presumably whichever side loses will probably ask the Supreme Court to rule.
If the case does find its way to the Court do we assume the five conservative "Supremes" of Roberts, Scalia, Thomas, Alito and Kennedy will automatically decide in the NSA's favor and grant the "agency" the legal cover to intercept and listen on anyone and everyone with impunity OR will the strict constructionists led by Scalia find the "agencies" methods unconstitutional and clearly against the 4 th Amendments clause "against unreasonable searches and seizures."
Surely the data mining of innocents' electronic communications by the NSA falls within that category.
And the pleas from the huge U.S. software companies led by Microsoft et al, against the NSA's using "back door" entry into a company's software will certainly have a negative economic impact on these company's sales and profits as well as the overall American economy.
As corporate friendly as this group of justices have been the NSA's crippling corporate profits would seemingly have an impact on the "five".
For sure it's not to disparage the four liberal justices on the Court but realistically Ginsburg, Kagan, Sotomayer and Breyer aren't able to prevail on cases of supreme importance (no pun intended) against the usual cabal of their 5 conservative colleagues.
As to the broad implications of the NSA's indiscriminate clandestine operations worldwide now made public through Edward Snowden's whistleblowing revelations, trust of the U.S. is probably at an all time low.
By the government defending all the "agency's" actions behind a veil of secrecy and for reasons of national security without their showing probable cause and reasonable suspicion of crimes about to be committed by those they spy on, the very reason for their being ceases to exist.
Yes there are terrorists in the world intent on doing harm to America and Americans, most of whom we've created by our actions in killing innocents in our wars and occupations and resorting to torture in our mad global war on terror.
Quite simply if we viewed terrorism and terrorists as much of the world does as those who commit crimes need to be apprehended and prosecuted, something that was within the regular purview of the FBI before it too became militarized, the whole war on terror could be terminated and the justification for all this unnecessary intelligence gathering could be reduced and brought under control.
Sanity could prevail once again with most of the "spooks" and surveillance monitoring put out to pasture.
That notion may be the ultimate naivete but what we have now is unnecessary surveillance run amok, costing untold billions, nabbing few if any actual bad guys while allowing light speed technological innovations to be used because, simply it can be utilized with total disregard to whether its legal and constitutional.
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