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EFF, Others, File New NSA Lawsuit
Wide Coalition Files Broadest Assault Yet on Government Snooping
by Karl Bode 04:29PM Tuesday Jul 16 2013
In what is the most comprehensive challenge yet to the government's massive domestic spying apparatus, a wide coalition of groups ranging from the Electronic Frontier Foundation to the First Unitarian Church of Los Angeles have filed suit against the NSA. Fueled by new leaks courtesy of Edward Snowden, the lawsuit challenges the government's massive collection of phone data, arguing that such collection violates the First, Fourth, and Fifth Amendments of the US Constitution.

According to the lawsuit (pdf), the data collection violates the First Ammendment rights of organizations, infringing upon their right to communicate anonymously, and their right to "engage in political advocacy free from government interference."

"People who hold controversial views – whether it's about gun ownership policies, drug legalization, or immigration – often must express views as a group in order to act and advocate effectively," argues EFF Legal Director Cindy Cohn Cohn. "But fear of individual exposure when participating in political debates over high-stakes issues can dissuade people from taking part. That's why the Supreme Court ruled in 1958 that membership lists of groups have strong First Amendment protection."

"Telephone records, especially complete records collected over many years, are even more invasive than membership lists, since they show casual or repeated inquiries as well as full membership," argues Cohn.

The suit focuses primarily on the collection of phone-related data by AT&T, Verizon and Sprint, and doesn't touch on other recent revelations such as PRISM.

Historically the EFF has had a difficult time in their cases against the government's surveillance efforts, but Edward Snowden's leaks have aided them greatly. The lawsuit includes two exhibits: the FISA order leaked by Snowden and the subsequently-publicized NSA memo that confirmed the existence of these surveillance programs.

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Probitas

@teksavvy.com

Good luck.

I can't imagine this gaining traction, even when the constitution is quite clear; it seems nothing is sacred anymore in the advancement of fear propaganda to assist in keep defense contractors rolling in dough.
kerya666

join:2002-12-20
Valrico, FL

Re: Good luck.

said by Probitas :

I can't imagine this gaining traction, even when the constitution is quite clear; it seems nothing is sacred anymore in the advancement of fear propaganda to assist in keep defense contractors rolling in dough.

Probably and sadly a true statement... but I would love them to stick it to these creepy government agencies with their ever-growing and overreaching power-creep tendencies.

said by FFH5:

and their right to "engage in political advocacy free from government interference."

Isn't that concept oxymoronic? Lobbying government and politicians, especially by political contributions, is interference in government operation. But the government identifying who is trying to tilt policy in their individual or group's favor is out of bounds?

Political advocacy does not have to be only lobbying... personally I interpreted this as assembly, discussion and activities of groups.

FFH5
Premium
join:2002-03-03
Tavistock NJ
kudos:5

Shouldn't political advocacy be a 2 way street?

and their right to "engage in political advocacy free from government interference."

Isn't that concept oxymoronic? Lobbying government and politicians, especially by political contributions, is interference in government operation. But the government identifying who is trying to tilt policy in their individual or group's favor is out of bounds?
--
"If you want to anger a conservative lie to him.
If you want to anger a liberal tell him the truth."

mr sean
Professional Infidel
Premium,ExMod 2001-07
join:2001-04-03
N. Absentia
kudos:1

1 recommendation

Re: Shouldn't political advocacy be a 2 way street?

said by FFH5:

Lobbying government and politicians, especially by political contributions, is interference in government operation. But the government identifying who is trying to tilt policy in their individual or group's favor is out of bounds?

Straw man.
The position of the EFF and others is that the government has infringed constitutional law on a massive scale. Your assertion that government is simply engaging in "identifying who is trying to tilt policy" is, at best, disingenuous.
--
How you can make the world a Better Place

vpoko
Premium
join:2003-07-03
Boston, MA

1 recommendation

said by FFH5:

and their right to "engage in political advocacy free from government interference."

Isn't that concept oxymoronic? Lobbying government and politicians, especially by political contributions, is interference in government operation. But the government identifying who is trying to tilt policy in their individual or group's favor is out of bounds?

No, it's not oxymoronic at all. People, including collectively through organizations that they form, have the right to politically advocate. The government can't interfere with that by using their law enforcement or intelligence capabilities to harass, attempt to discredit, or intimidate them.

What does "identifying who is trying to tilt policy" mean? If the government wants to release a report saying "The NRA lobbies for guns, NORML advocates for the legalization of marijuana, etc", they can go nuts. The NRA's phone records? Have a reason and get a warrant.

Bitsec

@sky.com

Re: Shouldn't political advocacy be a 2 way street?

said by vpoko:

No, it's not oxymoronic at all. People, including collectively through organizations that they form, have the right to politically advocate. The government can't interfere with that by using their law enforcement or intelligence capabilities to harass, attempt to discredit, or intimidate

I dont understand. *Have* any of these groups actually been
Harassed, discredited, or intimidated by the government (either unilaterally or through the use of the Verizon phone records)?

meeeeeeeeee

join:2003-07-13
Newburgh, NY

1 edit

Re: Shouldn't political advocacy be a 2 way street?

said by Bitsec :

I dont understand. *Have* any of these groups actually been Harassed, discredited, or intimidated by the government (either unilaterally or through the use of the Verizon phone records)?

Have they not? The problem is WE DON'T KNOW. Members of this regime have testified to Congress (sworn in) and now have been PROVEN to telling bold faced lies. Congress does nothing about that.

The Supreme Court goes on protecting their paychecks, benefits and pensions allowing Congress and the Executive to run roughshod and trample American People's Constitutional Rights.

There have been documented instances of the Executive branch committing extra judicial killings of American Citizens and their CHILDREN! AND the CHILD was targeted separately, NOT a collateral damage situation.

THAT'S NOT AMERICA!!
--
"when the people have suffered many abuses under the control of a totalitarian leader, they not only have the right but the duty to overthrow that government." - The U.S. Declaration of Independence

vpoko
Premium
join:2003-07-03
Boston, MA

3 edits

1 recommendation

I think you're looking at it backwards. Has the government been obtaining data that they weren't entitled to? Yes. Could that data be misused? Definitely, even though no one has demonstrated that it has. Considering how recently the fact that it was being collected at all just came out, I'm not surprised. But the bill of rights "attaches" to the search and seizure part of what the government is doing, not the subsequent use of the data. If they have a legitimate need, they should get a warrant (and not the Mickey Mouse "get all data" warrant obtained from the FISA court, but an actual warrant, as required by the 4th amendment "particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.") before collecting the data, not collect it now and justify it later. When data is being collected beyond what's proper for a particular investigation, people are entitled not to just assume that it's being used properly. It's being collected improperly as it is...

meeeeeeeeee

join:2003-07-13
Newburgh, NY

1 edit

Re: Shouldn't political advocacy be a 2 way street?

said by vpoko:

I think you're looking at it backwards. Has the government been obtaining data that they weren't entitled to? Yes. Could that data be misused? Definitely, even though no one has demonstrated that it has. Considering how recently the fact that it was being collected at all just came out, I'm not surprised. But the bill of rights "attaches" to the search and seizure part of what the government is doing, not the subsequent use of the data. If they have a legitimate need, they should get a warrant (and not the Mickey Mouse "get all data" warrant obtained from the FISA court, but an actual warrant, as required by the 4th amendment "particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.") before collecting the data, not collect it now and justify it later.

CLAP...CLAP...CLAP...CLAP...CLAP!!!!

The question is NOT "who has been harmed". The question is "Why did this regime illegally collect it and what are we going to do about that?". IF you wait for bodies on the street it's too late.

By the very fact that this regime has acted in the way they have, EVERYONE has been harmed.

--
"when the people have suffered many abuses under the control of a totalitarian leader, they not only have the right but the duty to overthrow that government." - The U.S. Declaration of Independence

pc93

@bhn.net

Private Attorney General in USA requests leave to file Amicu

»tekgnosis.typepad.com/tekgnosis/···ela.html