[JURIST] The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court [official website] ruled [opinion, PDF] Monday that the National Security Agency(NSA) [official website] may temporarily resume its program of systematically collecting Americans' phone data in bulk. The program lapsed on June 1 after the expiration of the USA Patriot Act [text, PDF], but the program survived with the passage of the USA Freedom Act [text], signed into law by President Obama on June 2. Under the measure the NSA can no longer collect phone data [JURIST report] of American citizens in bulk after a six month grace period, but the government can still access this data through the records of major telecommunication companies such as Verizon or AT&T.
The US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit [official website] ruled [JURIST report] in May that the surveillance program is illegal. Several US lawmakers have called [JURIST report] for a review of the government's surveillance activity in light of reports revealing phone and Internet monitoring. The focus on government surveillance policies comes largely as a result of revelations [JURIST backgrounder] by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden [JURIST news archive], who allegedly leaked classified documents, including PRISM and UPSTREAM, in 2013, exposing the scope and breadth of NSA surveillance activities.