ACLU, a Verizon Customer, Sues Government Over Spying
New Case May Have Much Better Chance Than Last One
The ACLU has filed a lawsuit against the United States government
as a customer of Verizon, claiming the government's domestic spy program violates the First Amendment rights of free speech and association, as well as the right of privacy protected by the Fourth Amendment. The ACLU is requesting a Judge order the immediate shut down of the program and a purging of all pertinent program data.
Historically, such lawsuits have been squashed by the government on the grounds that litigation would expose national security secrets. You might recall that the ACLU's other lawsuit over NSA and carrier spying was dismissed by the Supreme Court
back in February, the court dissenters claiming that the ACLU couldn't show specific proof of harm.
and lawsuit could face a better chance of survival, given the government has declassified much of this program, the ACLU is an actual customer of Verizon Business Network Services, and last week's leaks clearly show Verizon handing over call log data for millions of Americans who have not been accused of any crime.
"The crux of the government's justification for the program is the chilling logic that it can collect everyone's data now and ask questions later," said Alex Abdo, a staff attorney for the ACLU's National Security Project. "The Constitution does not permit the suspicionless surveillance of every person in the country."
That doesn't mean the government won't engage in the same old obfuscation they have previously, but the ACLU's chances of making progress in this fight should improve slighlty.
Re: Show Harm You're right, but I was making a constitutional vs. statutory distinction. Even without the FISA court order, obtaining phone records would be illegal, but not unconstitutional since they don't have 4th amendment protections. I.e., if the ACLU gets a favorable ruling, Congress can just pass a new law. Not so with an actual wiretap.
Traffic Analysis - The study of message externals... POINT) When a federal agency decides to collect meta-data about every US and foreign subscriber on the Verizon network, and Verizon goes along, you may rest well assured that Verizon is also getting something in the bargain.
POINT) I don't have to have content to know what the communication was about. For example, you call the local hardware store, twenty minutes later you purchase a drop cloth used by painters. You are probably painting something. You receive a call from your doctor. You then call your insurance provider and an obstetrician. Let me guess, your wife is pregnant. Oh wait, you get a call from an HIV clinic, you call your insurance provider and your doctor... It is more about who you talk to than about what you say. This kind of access to privacy information is not making us more free or more secure. This is killing flies with sledge hammers.
It is time that we decided that we refuse to allow terrorists and their ilk to make us into the kind of country they live in. We are free because we choose to be free. If you choose to be a sheep, you deserve the consequences.
Once we IPv6 enable every device on the Internet we will have toasters, baby monitors, and security cameras joining the bot nets which today are populated only by idiots that can not refrain from clicking, "Yes I would like to see those titties..."