A U.S. federal appeals court in New York ruled that the National Security Agency program that systematically collects Americans' phone records is illegal, The New York Times reported May 7. A panel of three judges said that the provision of the USA Patriot Act that had been used to justify the data collection program cannot be legally interpreted to support the program. Debate in Congress has been ongoing over whether to extend the provision, which expires in June. The U.S. House of Representatives is set to vote on a bill next week that if approved could end the NSA program. Two similar cases reviewing the program are pending in separate appeals courts.