ACLU sues over NSA phone records program

NEW YORK — Two prominent civil rights groups have filed a lawsuit against the National Security Agency over its program that reportedly collects the telephone records of millions of American customers of Verizon.

The American Civil Liberties Union and the New York Civil Liberties Union say in a lawsuit filed in federal court Tuesday that the program violates First Amendment rights of free speech and association. It also alleges the program violates Fourth Amendment rights to privacy.

The lawsuit additionally alleges the government’s program exceeds Congress’ authority.

ACLU Deputy Legal Director Jameel Jaffer says the program is the same as requiring Americans to give the government a “daily report” of their activities and conversations.

President Barack Obama has defended the program and says privacy must be balanced with security.

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