Since When Are Your Phone Calls Private, Goverment Lawyer Asks
By NICK DIVITO
Friday, November 22, 2013
MANHATTAN (CN) – Since Americans expect their phone companies to keep records of their calls, they have no basis to challenge the National Security Agency’s mass collection of that data, a lawyer for the government argued Friday.
Americans have “no reasonable expectation” to privacy when it comes to the telephone calls they make, Assistant Attorney General Stuart Delery said at a packed hearing in federal court.
“People assume that phone companies are recording phone numbers and how long the call lasted,” he said. “We know that because all of us get the bills with those details.”
U.S. District Judge William Pauley III is presiding over the trial stemming from the revelation of a then-classified court order that compelled Verizon to turn over domestic phone records for millions of Americans.
Former NSA contractor Edward Snowden leaked the document in June and has since received asylum from Russia.
Jameel Jaffer, deputy legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union, told the court that the dragnet spying program is an “abuse of the government’s investigative power.”
“If they can collect this kind of information, they can collect all kinds of records as well,” Jaffer said.
ACLU attorney Alexander Abdo told the court that “the Fourth Amendment creates a private sphere that the government can’t penetrate.”