The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has filed a lawsuit on behalf of First Unitarian Church and multiple other organizations against the National Security Agency (NSA) opposing the illegal mass surveillance programs of the NSA. EFF represents will be representing the coalition of American organizations including political associations, churches, and regular people.
First Unitarian Church of Los Angeles v. NSA is a lawsuit that will address whether the NSA violated the First Amendment right of association by illegally collecting call records. EFF has had years of experience fighting illegal government surveillance in court, but this will be a pivotal case for the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
“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,” said EFF Legal Director Cindy Cohn. “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. Exposing this information –especially in a massive, untargeted way over a long period of time– violates the Constitution and the basic First Amendment tests that have been in place for over 50 years.”
The bulk telephone records collection program was confirmed by both the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) and the Director of National Intelligence (DNI). DNI also confirmed that the document published was part of a broader program to collect all major telecommunications customers’ call histories. Edward Snowden revealed the electronic surveillance program by leaking documents to the Guardian newspaper. The Guardian published information on the secret court order that directed Verizon Business Network Services to turn over “metadata” –including time, duration and location of phone calls– to the NSA for all calls made over a three month period of time. The Wall Street Journal also reported that both AT&T and Sprint were given the same court orders.
The lawsuit will argue that the program violates the First, Fourth and Fifth Amendment rights of individuals.
The lawsuit states, “This lawsuit challenges an illegal and unconstitutional program of dragnet electronic surveillance, specifically the bulk acquisition, collection, storage, retention, and searching of telephone communications information.”
Linda St.Cyr is a writer, blogger, activist, and short story author. She writes about news, sustainability, green energy, food, celebrities and much more. Often she is busy being vocal about feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless, and shedding a light on human rights violations all over the world.