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A decision last week about NSA spying by a panel of judges on the United States Court of Appeals in New York City sent shock waves through the government. The court ruled that a section of the Patriot Act that is due to expire at the end of this month and on which the government has relied as a basis for its bulk acquisition of telephone data in the past 14 years does not authorize that acquisition. This may sound like legal mumbo jumbo, but it goes to the heart of the relationship between the people and their government in a free society.
The title of the act is a ten-letter backronym (USA FREEDOM) that stands for "Uniting and Strengthening America by Fulfilling Rights and Ending Eavesdropping, Dragnet-collection and Online Monitoring Act."