Case against AT&T/NSA continues

Judge denies government request to freeze case until appeal is resolved, rebuffs media organizations on request to unseal documents.

A federal judge ruled that a class action lawsuit against AT&T over its participation in NSA spying can go forward, rejecting requests by the government and AT&T to freeze proceedings during an appeal, the Electronic Frontier Foundation says.

U.S. District Court Judge Vaughn Walker allowed EFF to ask "limited and targeted" questions as long as they don't overlap with the issues under consideration in the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

"The government wanted to put this case in the deep freeze," said EFF Staff Attorney Kurt Opsahl. "Instead, the court has invited us to move forward with some targeted questions. We're glad to accept that invitation, which will allow progress while respecting the government's national security concerns."

The judge refused to implement a blanket stay on the other telecommunications surveillance cases transferred to his court.

Unless the parties stipulate to a stay, the "defendants will answer or otherwise respond to the complaint" by March 29, he said.

The judge refused to unseal court documents, however, as requested by numerous media outlets.

"We're disappointed that the court did not choose to unseal all of the documents that include or refer to the evidence presented by Mark Klein and our expert, J. Scott Marcus. The government has already agreed that the evidence is neither classified nor a state secret, and is only being held under seal because of AT&T's weak trade secrecy claims," said Cindy Cohn, EFF's Legal Director. "Given that the privacy of millions of Americans is at stake, we strongly believe that the public would benefit from seeing this evidence for themselves."

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