Feeds

Privacy warriors haul NSA into court, demand swift end to mass call snooping

Groups argue for free speech protections to block spying

The Power of One Infographic

A collection of civil-liberties campaigners has called on a US federal court to summarily block government agencies from monitoring phones.

The optimistic bunch, which includes the EFF, claims that large-scale collection of call metadata is preventing them from carrying out their day-to-day business, and threatens protections on free speech. Such data includes the time of calls, who spoke and their locations.

The group – which also includes churches, civil-rights advocates and freedom activists – argues in its lawsuit filed in California that the NSA's ability to gather these sensitive records is causing innocent citizens to become fearful that their private calls are being snooped on.

David Greene, senior staff attorney with the EFF, told The Reg that such conditions are preventing people from being able to conduct business for fear that their privacy will be violated. In doing so, the plaintiffs argue that the freedom to associate (a key tenet of the Bill of Rights) has been placed in jeopardy.

As well as arguing for these constitutional protections, the plaintiffs have now asked for summary judgments that would halt the massive collection on phone conversations and help cut domestic surveillance programs, which they believe have reached too far into the lives of Americans.

Also at issue is the NSA's use of a key provision in the US Patriot Act dubbed Section 215 that allows authorities to collect business records if they are related to an investigation of terrorist activity.

The EFF argues that the provision has been taken out of context by authorities, who are now using it to collect large swaths of phone records. This, combined with the worries of violating the First Amendment, says Greene, is enough for the EFF and its clients to push the court for a summary judgement.

This latest effort is part of a campaign which the EFF helped to launch in July of this year. The legal team believes that the effort can help to place stronger limits on key aspects of government surveillance programs. ®

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
Yorkshire cops fail to grasp principle behind BT Fon Wi-Fi network
'Prevent people that are passing by to hook up to your network', pleads plod
Major problems beset UK ISP filth filters: But it's OK, nobody uses them
It's almost as though pr0n was actually rather popular
UK government officially adopts Open Document Format
Microsoft insurgency fails, earns snarky remark from UK digital services head
HP, Microsoft prove it again: Big Business doesn't create jobs
SMEs get lip service - what they need is dinner at the Club
ITC: Seagate and LSI can infringe Realtek patents because Realtek isn't in the US
Land of the (get off scot) free, when it's a foreign owner
MPs wave through Blighty's 'EMERGENCY' surveillance laws
Only 49 politcos voted against DRIP bill
Help yourself to anyone's photos FOR FREE, suggests UK.gov
Copyright law reforms will keep m'learned friends busy
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.