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Federal Appeals Court in NY ruled NSA´s phone records program as illegal.

NSA Headquarters  (Photo Credit AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

NSA Headquarters (Photo Credit AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

WASHINGTON — A federal appeals court in New York ruled on Thursday that the once-secret National Security Agency program that is systematically collecting Americans’ phone records in bulk is illegal. The decision comes as a fight in Congress is intensifying over whether to end and replace the program, or to extend it without changes.

In a 97-page ruling, a three-judge panel for the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit held that a provision of the U.S.A.Patriot Act, known as Section 215, cannot be legitimately interpreted to allow the bulk collection of domestic calling records.

The provision of the act used to justify the bulk data program is to expire June 1, and the ruling is certain to increase tension that has been building in Congress.

It also comes as controversy over electronic surveillance is building in Europe, including a push in France to increase domestic spying and a decision by Germany to reduce cooperation on surveillance with the United States. READ ARTICLE HERE