A U.S. appeals court in New York ruled Thursday that the National Security Agency's program to collect phone records of Americans is illegal.
The program collected "metadata" from millions of phone calls from American citizens. The metadata recorded the times when the phone calls were made and the phone numbers called.
The surveillance program was not known to the public until two years ago. NSA contractor Edward Snowden leaked the information about the program to reporters in June of 2013.
The NSA claimed that the spying program was legal under the Patriot Act, which Congress passed following the September 11 terrorist attacks.
The appeals court ruled that the spying program was not authorized by Congress. The three-judge panel of the court wrote,"Congress cannot reasonably be said to have ratified a progam of which many members of Congress - and all members of the public - were not aware."
Close elections in Great Britain
British voters are voting in a close election that could oust Prime Minister David Cameron from office.
Public opinion studies show that 33 percent of British voters support Mr. Cameron's Conservative Party. The Labor party, led by Ed Milliband, is only one point behind.
Observers are calling the election Britain's most unpredictable and consequential in a generation.
Mr. Cameron has promised to hold a referendum if he is re-elected. The referendum will ask if Britain should remain in the 28-nation European Union.
Iran releases seized Maersk vessel
Iran's official IRNA news agency reported that its government released the Maersk Tigris cargo ship today.
On April 28, Iranian forces seized the ship in the Strait of Hormuz. The seizure followed a legal complaint from a private Iranian company.
The incident took place while Iran and the U.S. are negotiating Iran's nuclear program and international economic restrictions. At the same time, the U.S. is supporting Saudi Arabia in its air campaign against Iranian-backed rebels in Yemen.
After the Maersk seizure, the U.S. announced that its Navy will escort all U.S.-registered vessels through the Strait of Hormuz.
The strait is the path for one-fifth of the world's oil transport.