Court backs NSA on internet spying as Obama ducks call for reform


It’s been a lousy week so far for opponents of U.S. spy tactics: a federal judge shut down a long-running challenge to the NSA’s mass collection of customer internet data, while President Obama brushed off a call to do something about the sprawl of government surveillance.

The court case in question, Jewel v. NSA, involves a romance writer in California who argued that AT&T should have obtained a warrant before using a secret room to forward the internet traffic of its customers to intelligence agencies. The case, filed in 2008, was one of the first to challenge the U.S. collection of metadata, and shed light on the close collaboration between telco companies and the government — a collaboration that has gained considerably more attention in the wake of the Edward Snowden leaks.

But on Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Jeffrey White ruled that Carolyn Jewel and other plaintiffs had failed to show they had the requisite legal…

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