A series of top-secret court documents released Friday reveal the extent to which private companies have been powerless to protect customers against government invasions of privacy via National Security Agency spying.
The documents from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court reveal that a phone company whose name was redacted in the documents challenged an NSA’s request to hand over telecommunications data in bulk. The company petitioned the court to “vacate, modify or affirm the current production order” in January after a District Judge ruled that the NSA’s phone records program was likely unConstitutional a month earlier.
“Judge [Richard] Leon’s Memorandum Opinion introduces, for the first time, a question about the legal validity of an order issued by this Court,” the company stated.
“In light of Judge Leon’s Opinion, it is appropriate [redacted] inquire directly of the Court into the legal basis” for the records request, the petition continued.
FISC Judge Rosemary Collyer issued a ruling denying the company’s request in March, deciding that the telecommunications company “provides no basis for vacating or modifying the production order.” She also defined the previous Circuit Court decision questioning the Constitutionality of the NSA’s actions “unpersuasive.”
The unknown phone company’s challenge of the bulk data collection represents the first such fight against the NSA’s data collection efforts.