EFF sues NSA over warrantless government spying program

EFF sues NSA over warrantless government spying program

Summary: The privacy group, representing 19 diverse groups — including a gun rights groups and a Los Angeles church — claim the NSA's PRISM and fiber cable spying program violates their constitutional rights.

TOPICS: Security
(Image: ZDNet/EFF)

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has filed a lawsuit against the National Security Agency (NSA) over its widespread, warrantless surveillance program.

The privacy and civil liberties group is representing 19 groups, including a Los Angeles church, an environmental protection group, and religious foundations, under claims that the U.S. government is violating the Fourth and Fifth Amendments.

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Also violated, the coalition claim, is the Second Amendment, which is one of the reasons why gun rights groups are on the ticket suing the NSA.

Among the names, including Greenpeace, the First Unitarian Church of Los Angeles, the Free Software Foundation (FSF), and the Californian chapter of the Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, three names stood out.

The Calguns Foundation; the California Association of Federal Firearms Licensees; and Franklin Armory, which makes AR-15 semi-automatic rife that, among other types, are legal under Californian law.

It's a diverse group, for sure, and likely a selection from the raffle of random, but all those named believe they have been wronged or had their rights violated as a result of the NSA's mass spying programs.

The EFF demands in the suit that the NSA surveillance programs cease immediately.

"The First Amendment protects the freedom to associate and express political views as a group, but the NSA's mass, untargeted collection of Americans' phone records violates that right by giving the government a dramatically detailed picture into our associational ties," EFF legal director Cindy Cohn wrote on the group's blog.

"Who we call, how often we call them, and how long we speak shows the government what groups we belong to or associate with, which political issues concern us, and our religious affiliation," she added.

Topic: Security

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  • Is the servant now the master?

    I guess we're about to find out just how much the courts are in collusion with the government in its tireless quest to become the master of We The People.
    • government, courts and we the people

      These institutions are self serving. Their own survival is primary and the plight of the every day individual secondary. Even the press is guilty of collusion by misrepresenting the facts when it suits their story. Drama and self survival, be it by reputation or otherwise has ruled the upper echelons of our society. The idealism we claim in our words rarely translates to action. The populace is asleep and the institutions hang out the "DO NOT DISTURB", signs.
  • Walking a fine line

    Trying to maintain security and avoiding terrorist acts demands walking a fine line that is hard to facilitate. I personally don't want to be snooped on. Probable cause should be pursed but other excuses encroach on privacy.
    • Exactly...

      To paraphrase our leaders of the past.....

      We can't give up liberty for some temporary security, if we do, we deserver neither.
  • The involvement

    of gun lobbyists is actually not all that surprising considering that many gun enthusiasts are amongst the biggest anti-government paranoids. Even a broken clock is right twice a day, and just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they're not out to get you. Please escuse any typos because I have an annnoying Samsung ad placed directly over my comment box and it refuses to go away.
    • LOL

      Now that I can read what I typed I can appreciate the irony of my aplogy
  • Private Attorney General in USA requests leave to file Amicus Curiae Brief

  • This will be very interesting to see how much, if any, the people involved

    understand what's really happening. The last time I checked up on the US laws about warrants they only provide a requirement for the collection and interception of information collected INSIDE the USA borders and have no bearing on what goes on outside those borders. Also, this whole matter has gone before the courts in the past and been found constitutional, but the current courts may be ready to breach the constitution to have a go at the NSA.

    The interception and collection program has been known about for over 60 years, almost 70 years now, it's known as Echelon and there's even a wiki article on it. The collection of communications signals to and from the USA occur outside the USA, not inside the USA borders, most are via radio interception and phone taps on International lines in Canada and Mexico. Gee, no USA warrant needed to do work in those countries, what a shame EFF.
    Deadly Ernest