Edward Snowden
Edward Snowden, 29, has come forward as the NSA whistleblower who leaked documents to The Guardian. Screenshot

The National Security Agency's Prism surveillance program is likely to be ruled unconstitutional by a federal judge. The Prism program, which collects information on nearly all phone calls made to, from and within the U.S., has recently sparked controversy following discoveries that the NSA had been spying on major political leaders. U.S. District Court Judge Richard Leon found that the program violates the Fourth Amendment, which prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures. The judge also ruled that the NSA had failed to produce evidence confirming the program helped with terrorism prevention.

The case came about after legal activist Larry Klayman brough a lawsuit against the NSA for violations of privacy. Leon issued a preliminary injunction that would bar the NSA from collecting data from the Verizon accounts of Klayman and one of his clients. "I cannot imagine a more 'indiscriminate' and 'arbitrary invasion' than this systematic and high-tech collection and retention of personal data on virtually every single citizen for purposes of querying it and analyzing it without judicial approval," wrote Leon in a statement released on Monday.

The federal judge's ruling is the first significant blow dealt to the NSA's surveillance program since the Edward Snowden scandal emerged in June. The program had been running for years under federal approval. Lawyers and judges who approved the program argued that Prism did not contravene the Fourth Amendment as phone records were readily available on public record for billing purposes.

Yet Leon countered the arguement stating that "The ubiquity of phones has dramatically altered the quantity of information that is now available and, more importantly, what that information can tell the Government about people's lives," the judge wrote. "I cannot possible navigate these uncharted Fourth Amendment waters using as my North Star a case that predates the rise of cell phones."

© 2023 Latin Times. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.