Success: NSA Phone Spying Ruled Illegal


Target: Circuit Judge Gerard Lynch

Goal: Praise Circuit Court of Appeals for ruling U.S. spying program illegal.

Certain provisions of the Patriot Act are illegal, such as collecting Americans’ phone records, according to the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan. This ruling places more pressure on Congress to end or replace the phone spying program.

Our voices at ForceChange have been heard, and the pressure to allow Americans more privacy has been successful. Circuit Judge Gerard Lynch wrote as part of a panel of three judges that Section 215, which details the FBI’s authority to access business records, could not be interpreted to allow the NSA to gather such a “staggering” amount of private phone records, despite what the Bush and Obama administrations claim.

Former government security contractor Edward Snowden first revealed the program’s details in 2013, causing an outrage over privacy concerns. The anti-terrorism surveillance was controversial from the start, but Americans allowed it to happen in the wake of fear.

Parts of the Patriot Act are set to expire on June 1, but it is still up in the air as to whether Congress will renew the act or replace it entirely. It should be noted that the appeals court did not rule on whether or not the surveillance violated the U.S. Constitution.

This is the first step to take back our right to privacy. Please thank Circuit Judge Gerard Lynch for recognizing the overreach this legislation has by signing the petition below.


Dear Honorable Gerard Lynch,

I would like to thank you for ruling that collecting bulk phone records of Americans under the NSA surveillance program is illegal. It is time that Americans took back their right to privacy and not allow such intrusive procedures to continue.

The Patriot Act was passed as a result of immense fear in the time of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.  Because of this fear, Americans allowed the government to invade their privacy and weaken their First Amendment rights in order to be fully protected. However, the threat of a terrorist attack should not make us so scared that we willingly give up our right to privacy.

Collecting phone records in bulk gives the NSA too much power.  Allowing them to collect metadata such as medical records, financial records, and even email and social media data is overreaching. There are better ways to stop a terrorist attack than by intruding upon American’s social media accounts.

I am hopeful that Congress will do the right thing and not renew this provision that is set to expire on June 1. Thank you for doing your part and ruling Section 215 illegal.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Mike Herbst

Sign the Petition

  • Only your name will be displayed. By signing, you accept our terms and may receive updates on this and related causes.
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One Comment

  1. it wont matter…they are about to reauthorize the patriot act

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