US Supreme Court Passes On Mass Phone Surveillance - While EU Passes Strong Anti-Surveillance Legislation

In nearly simultaneous moves this week, the US Supreme Court and the highest Court in the European Union gave opposite rulings on the issue of phone mass-surveillance.

In the United States, the Supreme Court passed on hearing the arguments for or against the mass collection of phone metadata on US citizens. By declining to expedite the process, the lower courts will now have to fight through the issue and it will likely ultimately wind up on the steps of the supreme court anyway. This is assuming that the issue at hand, named Patriot Act Section 215, is not changed by the legislative branch before it is up for renewal in 2015.

Meanwhile in the European Union, they threw out the legislation that required telecom companies to retain customer metadata for up to two years. The court claimed that it infringes basic rights. Their formal reasoning was that it "exceeded the limits of proportionality".

The European Parliament also passed a new law making net neutrality a rigid, structured reality. The new law closely defines that traffic cannot be shaped or biased based on content or destination, and specifically protects heavy data use services like Netflix from "double-dipping" by the network carriers, like we have been seeing in the United States after the Federal Communications Commission decided to throw out the net neutrality laws in place.


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