WASHINGTON (AP) -- In 1976, a Baltimore purse-snatcher got nabbed after crank-calling his victim. And that case laid the legal groundwork for today's worldwide government surveillance of telephone records in the name of protecting the U.S. from terrorists.
Since the earlier case, a federal judge now says, the government has gone too far.
It may well take a Supreme Court ruling to settle whether the case involving one suspect's phone calls three decades ago applies to global government surveillance.
In the Baltimore case, the Supreme Court concluded the government was allowed to collect the purse-snatcher's phone records to tie him to the crime.
The National Security Agency has argued that people forfeit privacy rights when they voluntarily give their phone numbers and Internet IDs to businesses.