A US judge has ruled the National Security Agency’s mass collection of telephone data unconstitutional.
Federal District Judge Richard Leon said the electronic spy agency’s practice was an “arbitrary invasion”.
The agency’s collection of “metadata” including telephone numbers and times and dates of calls was exposed by ex-NSA contractor Edward Snowden.
In his ruling in a Washington DC federal court on Monday, Leon called the NSA’s surveillance programme “indiscriminate” and an “almost Orwellian technology that enables the government to store and analyze the phone metadata of every telephone user in the United States”.
The ruling came in a lawsuit brought by conservative activist Larry Klayman, a user of a Verizon mobile telephone who challenged the NSA’s collection of metadata on his behalf and that of a client.