USA: court ruling shows case for mass surveillance is 'crumbling'

France has recently sought to introduce sweeping new surveillance powers
Responding to a US appeals court ruling that the US government’s bulk collection of phone records by its National Security Agency is illegal, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director of Global Issues Sherif Elsayed-Ali said: 
 
“For almost two years since the Snowden revelations, the US government has claimed the bulk collection of phone records is legitimate. Today’s decision is a sign that the case for mass surveillance programmes is crumbling.
 
“This should be the beginning of the end as governments are forced to face facts and admit that their surveillance programme have gone far beyond the remit of the law. 
 
“This decision should spur Congress to let the sun set on section 215 of the USA Patriot Act which has been used to conduct surveillance far beyond even our worst fears. 
 
“Two governments, France and Canada, who this week voted on laws that would grant far-reaching surveillance powers, should take note that similar powers are being successfully challenged in the USA.”
 
Today’s ruling is just one of several court challenges questioning the legal basis of the mass surveillance programmes pursued by the USA and its allies. Later this month, Congress will vote on the USA Freedom Act, a bill designed to limit mass surveillance powers created by the 2001 Patriot Act. Yesterday Amnesty USA and numerous other human rights organisations wrote to the leaderships of the House of Representatives and the Senate opposing a bill that would re-authorise Section 215 of the Patriot Act without modifying it.
 
On Tuesday, French deputies in the National Assembly voted in favour of an intelligence bill that human rights organisations warn could hand the authorities extensive powers to monitor online and offline communications without adequate checks and balances.
 

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