US Court Says Warrantless Wiretapping Is OK

A US federal appeals court has given the American government the green light for warrantless wiretapping. That means authorities can now spy on communications between American citizens without any warrants -- and without fear of being sued.

The ruling came on Tuesday, Wired reports, in the process reversing the original ruling from the first and only case to successfully challenge the Terrorist Surveillance Program. A three-judge panel of the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals wrote [PDF]:

"This case effectively brings to an end the plaintiffs' ongoing attempts to hold the executive branch responsible for intercepting telephone conversations without judicial authorization."

The case centered around two American attorneys who struggled -- but managed -- to prove they were spied on without warrants. The court ruled that the pair could "bring a suit for damages against the United States for use of the collected information" but were unable to "bring suit against the government for collection of the information itself". Speaking to Wired, Jon Eisenberg, the lawyer working on behalf of the two attorneys, explained:

"This case was the only chance to litigate and hold anybody accountable for the warrantless wiretapping program. As illegal as it was, it evaded accountability."

This means that from today the US government can happily spy on anybody's communications without warrants or fear of the consequences. But you didn't hear that from us. [Wired]

Image: Tischenko Irina/Shutterstock



    What a horrible precedent to set, goodbye to there privacy.

    And so it begins..!
    Next Australia follows suit...!
    Hang collective heads and say goodby to your privacy...!

    That's messed up....I wonder how much it took to pay off those judges?

    You can bet your socks it wont work the other way though. Would be nice to tap some Govt officials.

    yes Australia and its allies will absolutely follow on with this.

      You've only got to look at the sensorship the Australian Government either have or want to put into legislation, let alone the requirement for ISP's to log everything you do on the internet. Free country, Democracy, what a joke. ...and don't bother chiming in with some flaming response about how good we have it. The point is our political party's absolute first priority is their own re-election which means self serving policies before they even consider what their constituents want and have voted them into power to enact.

    You can take your tinfoil hats off. If you actually look up what it was about, it is not about the court 'OK'ing warrantless wiretapping at all. If you're a US citizen and get recorded calling your mate who isn't a US citizen and works for Al Qaeda and is wiretapped without a warrant, you won't be able to sue unless you are actually harmed as a result. That's it.
    If you're not a US citizen the US government will freely spy on you anyway; so no change for you.

    C'mon, hands up who really believes that this doesn't happen. I'm in not a conspiracy theorist but I am not so blind as to believe that the "authorities" don't put their ear to the wall and listen in on our conversations. They may not be able to tell anybody about it, or use it as evidence that someone has commited a crime, but it sure is a good start to finding out if someone is breaking the law. Government organisations have always used dodgy practises to discover what their underlings are up to. We prove that elected officials do illegal things and we still give them the benefit of the doubt. We want to believe that they will do the "right" thing by us but I think we all really know better than that.

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