# United States v. Moalin

Outside of the FISC, there is some progress towards fixing FISA’s precedents at the federal level.

On September 2, 2020, a panel of judges with the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit “conclude[d] that the government may have violated the Fourth Amendment and did violate the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (‘FISA’) when it collected the telephony metadata of millions of Americans” and “confirm[ed] that the Fourth Amendment requires notice to a criminal defendant when the prosecution intends to enter into evidence...from surveillance of that defendant conducted pursuant to the government’s foreign intelligence authorities” (United States v. Moalin 2020, 7).

This is the first major step in combating the legalization of mass surveillance since the public gained knowledge of these programs in Edward Snowden’s 2013 leaks. The court’s ruling calls into question the legality of programmatic surveillance, and, although the government continued to use data collected by the NSA to support their indictment of Moalin et al., it allows future cases to utilize the Ninth Circuit’s opinion to combat government-sponsored mass surveillance.

# Sources

  1. United States v. Moalin, 13-50572, 7 (Ct.App., 9th Cir. 2020), https://cdn.ca9.uscourts.gov/datastore/opinions/2020/09/02/13-50572.pdf (opens new window).