A U.S. court has ruled that the National Security Agency's bulk phone data collection program was unauthorized.

The new ruling on the program, which itself is part of long-running electronic surveillance efforts by the NSA, comes from the 2nd Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals. The court ruled that the NSA exceeded the authority given to it by Congress.

From the decision:

For the foregoing reasons, we conclude that the district court erred in ruling that § 215 authorizes the telephone metadata collection program, and instead hold that the telephone metadata program exceeds the scope of what Congress has authorized and therefore violates § 215. Accordingly, we VACATE the district court's judgment dismissing the complaint and REMAND the case to the district court for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.

The NSA's program saw the agency collect bulk metadata from phone calls in the U.S., including phone numbers, timestamps, and duration. The program has raised the ire of many of the companies that it targeted, including Apple, Google, and Microsoft.

It's important to note that today's ruling does not end the program, or even pause it temporarily. Congress is currently mulling reforms to the NSA's program, and the case is also under review in other federal courts.

Source: National Journal