Court Dismisses Challenge to NSA Internet Surveillance

National Security Agency / AP
• October 27, 2015 10:06 am


A federal district court on Friday granted the government’s motion to dismiss a lawsuit challenging the National Security Agency’s so-called "upstream" surveillance of Americans’ international Internet correspondences.

The case was brought by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) representing nine organizations, including the Wikimedia Foundation. The groups filed the case in March, arguing that the surveillance violated their first and fourth amendment rights.

According to the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, the groups failed to provide sufficient evidence for their allegations.

"Plaintiffs cannot provide a sufficient factual basis for their allegations because the scope and scale of Upstream surveillance remain classified, leaving plaintiffs to prop their allegation of actual injury on suppositions and speculation about how Upstream surveillance must operate in order to achieve the government’s ‘stated goals,’" the court concluded.

The "upstream" surveillance, which is legal under the FISA Amendments Act of 2008, involves the NSA searching Internet traffic entering or leaving the U.S. The scope of such surveillance was revealed by ex-CIA contractor Edward Snowden’s leaks in 2013.

ACLU national security project staff attorney Patrick Toomey, who argued the case, accused the court of "wrongly insulat[ing] the NSA’s spying from meaningful judicial scrutiny."

In addition to the Wikimedia Foundation, the plaintiffs included the Rutherford Institute, The Nation magazine, Amnesty International USA, PEN American Center, Human Rights Watch, the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Global Fund for Women, and Washington Office on Latin America.

Published under: NSA