The US National Security Agency (NSA) can resume the bulk collection of telephone records, at least temporarily, a US Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court ruled Monday.
The programme, which had drawn criticism and concern after being revealed in documents released by whistleblower Edward Snowden, had been suspended after the US Second Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in May that the NSA had never been authorised to gather those records by the USA PATRIOT Act, which Congress let expire on 1st June. The USA Freedom Act, signed into law by President Obama on 2 June, greatly curbed the surveillance programme but allowed it to continue during a 180-day transition period. The appeals court ruling, however, thwarted resumption.
In Monday's decision the FISC judge, Michael Mosman, called the Second Circuit's ruling not binding and gave the nod for the programme's temporary resumption.