In a crushing defeat to the President Obama administration, a federal appeals court has unanimously ruled Thursday that the NSA violated the law by collecting data on all U.S. telephone calls.
The U.S. 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the surveillance program was “an unprecedented contradiction of the privacy expectations of all Americans,” The Los Angeles Times reports. 
The court ruled in sharply worded language that the NSA had no right to spy on Americans who were not targets of counter-terrorism efforts.
Now Congress must decide how to reform the bulk collection of phone data.
“This is a huge step for individual Americans’ rights,” said Sen. Ron Wyden, (D-Ore.), an outspoken opponent of the program. “This dragnet surveillance program violates the law and tramples on Americans’ privacy rights without making our country any safer.”
The decision also at least partially vindicates Edward Snowden, who has fled U.S. prosecution after revealing the illegal records.