The Second Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Thursday that the U.S. National Security Agency`s massive collection of phone records of Americans is illegal, saying it exceeds the scope of what Congress authorized.

The court said in a 97-page opinion that the laws used as a basis for the bulk data collection “have never been interpreted to authorize anything approaching the breadth of the sweeping surveillance at issue here,” AFP reports.

“The phone records program ‘exceeds the scope of what Congress has authorized,’ Judge Gerard Lynch wrote on behalf of the three-judge panel,” Julian Hattem reports for The Hill. “The court did not examine the constitutionality of the surveillance program.”

MacDailyNews Take: Adhere to the U.S. Constitution.

Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. – Benjamin Franklin, Historical Review of Pennsylvania, 1759

Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free. – Ronald Reagan, March 30, 1961

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