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IQ2 Debate: Mass Collection of US Phone Records Violates Fourth Amendment (Abdo/Wydra vs Baker/Yoo)

In ACLU, Archive, NSA, Surveillance on October 8, 2014 at 8:10 AM



Some say that the mass collection of U.S. phone records is a gross invasion of privacy. Others say that it is necessary to keep us safe. But what does the U.S. Constitution say? “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.” Is collection of phone records a “search” or “seizure”? If so, is it “unreasonable”? Does it require a particularized warrant and probable cause? These are among the most consequential—and controversial—constitutional questions of our time.


ALEX ABDO – Staff Attorney, ACLU Speech, Privacy and Technology Project (Articles & Publications: Alex Abdo)

ELIZABETH WYDRA– Chief Counsel, Constitutional Accountability Center (Articles & Publications: Elizabeth Wydra)


STEWART BAKER – Fmr. Assistant Secretary, Homeland Security & Fmr. General Counsel, NSA (Articles & Publications: Stewart Baker)

JOHN YOO – Professor of Law, UC Berkeley & Fmr. Justice Department Lawyer (Articles & Publications: John Yoo)


Related Links:

Privacy & Civil Liberties Oversight Board Report on NSA Telephone Records Program: Illegal, Ineffective, Should End

Rare Glimpse Inside Court Proceeding on NSA Surveillance (ACLU v. Clapper 2d Cir. Oral Arguments Re: Section 215 Phone Metadata Program)

Snowden Was Justified (Ellsberg/Wizner vs. Woolsey/McCarthy)

Spy On Me, I’d Rather Be Safe (Baker/Falkenrath vs Cole/German)

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