A three-judge panel in the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit has ruled that the US National Security Agency (NSA) phone records collection "exceeds the scope of what Congress has authorized" in Section 215 of the Patriot Act. The court said that Congress didn't authorize collection of a "staggering" amount of information on Americans.
NSA's collection of "bulk telephony metadata" was first disclosed in 2013 by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.
The appeals court did not issue an order to stop the collection of data, noting that parts of the Patriot Act including Section 215 will expire on June 1. The Section 215 of the Patriot Act is governing the collection of records to fight terrorism.
The ruling means that U.S. lawmakers should either end or replace the program, which was intended to help fight terrorism.
Federal appeals courts in Washington, D.C. and California are also considering whether the program is legal.