ACLU sues NSA, says phone data collection violates constitutional rights

The American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit in federal court that says the National Security Agency's collection of U.S. phone customer information is a violation of its constitutional rights, reports The Wall Street Journal.

ACLU, which is a Verizon Business (NYSE: VZ) customer, found that the NSA was collecting metadata from its phone calls.

According to the suit filed in New York's Southern District, the ACLU has asked for a federal court order that says the NSA's call logging efforts violate a federal foreign intelligence surveillance law, free speech and search-and-seizure protections. In addition, the ACLU wants the NSA stop collecting data and to destroy any records that it has gathered thus far.

Last Thursday, a report in The Guardian, which obtained a copy of the order, said that Verizon Business was forced to give its daily call detail records to the NSA.

Under the order, Verizon Business is required to give the NSA information on all telephone calls made on its systems, including those within the United States and between the U.S. and other countries.

Besides Verizon, the NSA's program, according to various reports, includes AT&T (NYSE: T) and Sprint (NYSE: S).

Amidst the ALCU's lawsuit, President Obama defended the order. The court order applies only to data such as a telephone number or the duration of a call, but not the identity of the callers or the content of each call. 

For more:
- The Wall Street Journal has this article (sub. req.)

Related articles:
AT&T, Sprint also part of NSA's phone data collection probe
Verizon Business forced to give call records to the NSA
Walking the walk on Internet regulation

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