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Photo: Paul J. Richards/AFP via Getty Images

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday that the National Security Agency's surveillance program that collected data from Americans' phone calls was illegal.

What they found: The court concluded that "bulk collection" of phone data violates the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. Wednesday's ruling came seven years after Basaaly Moalin and three other Somali immigrants were found guilty on charges of fundraising for the terror group al-Shabab.

  • The court found that "the so-called telephone metadata program played in a criminal terror-fundraising case against four Somali immigrants was so minor that it did not undermine their convictions," Politico writes.

Background: The metadata collection program was developed after the passage of the Patriot Act following the Sept. 11 attacks. The program was revealed by former NSA contractor and whistleblower Edward Snowden and shut down in 2015.

What they're saying: "Here the NSA collected Moalin’s (and millions of other Americans’) telephony metadata on an ongoing, daily basis for years," Judge Marsha Berzon wrote in her opinion. "Moalin likely had a reasonable expectation of privacy in his telephony metadata — at the very least, it is a close question."

The big picture, via Axios' Kyle Daly: The ruling comes as the Trump administration, through Attorney General Bill Barr, has only pushed for more expansive digital surveillance capabilities.

  • Europe’s high court recently struck down a data pact between the EU and U.S. over concerns that Europeans’ private data can’t be protected from American government surveillance.

Read the ruling:

Go deeper

Supreme Court will hear major voting rights case

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

The Supreme Court agreed Friday to hear a major voting rights case, setting up a clash over states’ handling of absentee ballots.

Why it matters: The court has already invalidated a key section of the Voting Rights Act, even before President Trump solidified and expanded its conservative majority, and is now poised to limit voting-rights enforcement again.

Updated 42 mins ago - Economy & Business

Janet Yellen co-opts Reaganomics phrase for new Davos speech

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen at a speech this week. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

The U.S. needs to focus on increasing its productive potential, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen told world leaders Friday, calling for what she terms "modern supply side economics."

Why it matters: She co-opted a phrase traditionally used by political conservatives to describe low-tax and deregulatory policies — and framed the Biden administration's initiatives as the best path forward to achieve greater national prosperity.

National Archives releases Trump White House records to Jan. 6 panel

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The National Archives on Thursday evening released records of former President Trump's White House to the House Jan. 6 Select Committee, the agency said.

Why it matters: The committee now has documents that Trump attempted to keep hidden, arguing that their release would undermine his executive privilege.