US court rules NSA phone surveillance illegal

US judges’ finding lends severe blow to domestic spying programme
AUSTIN, TX - MARCH 10: NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden speaks via videoconference at the "Virtual Conversation With Edward Snowden" during the 2014 SXSW Music, Film + Interactive Festival at the Austin Convention Center on March 10, 2014 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Michael Buckner/Getty Images for SXSW)

The National Security Agency programme that collects information on the phone calls of tens of millions of Americans suffered its most significant legal setback when it was ruled illegal by a federal appeals court on Thursday.