Posts Tagged ‘EFF’
Big Victory: Judge Pushes Jewel v. NSA Forward
We won a groundbreaking legal victory late Friday in our Jewel v. NSA case, which challenges the NSA’s Internet and telephone surveillance. Judge Jeffrey White has authorized EFF, on behalf of the plaintiffs, to conduct discovery against the NSA. We had been barred from doing so since the case was filed in 2008, which meant that the government was able to prevent us from requesting important information about how these programs worked.
This marks the first time a party has been allowed to gather factual evidence from the NSA in a case involving the agency’s warrantless surveillance. The government had fought all our requests to proceed with this lawsuit, arguing that the state secrets privilege protects it against both discovery and liability. Judge White previously rejected that argument for our statutory claims under the Wiretap Act, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, and the Stored Communications Act. This ruling affirms Judge White’s previous decision and opens the door for discovery.
This is an important step forward to lifting the cloak of secrecy that has thus far shielded the NSA from judicial scrutiny, and EFF looks forward to finally getting to the nuts and bolts of this extraordinarily important lawsuit.
In this, our fifth annual Who Has Your Back report, we took the main principles of the prior reports and rolled them into a single category: Industry-Accepted Best Practices. We’ve also refined our expectations around providing users notice and added new categories to highlight other important transparency and user rights issues.
We designed this report to take the basic principles of Who Has Your Back up a notch and see which companies were still leading the pack. Already, our newest report has had a similar effect on the industry as a whole, encouraging companies large and small to strive for more when it comes to standing by their users. In the months since we first told the companies what this year’s criteria would be, we’ve seen significant improvement in company practices. And we hope—and expect—that over the next year, we’ll see even more.
Download the complete Who Has Your Back? 2015: Protecting Your Data From Government Requests report as a PDF.
State Secrets Privilege trumps 4th Amendment? Did we vote for that?
This most recent ruling was in response to the motion for partial summary judgment EFF filed in July 2014 arguing that the NSA’s backbone surveillance violates the Fourth Amendment. The government responded with its own motion for partial summary judgment, asserting several defenses, including the “state secrets” privilege, which permits judges to disregard evidence that would endanger national security if publicly released. In support of its motion, the government filed secret declarations by NSA officials that were available to Judge White, but not to us [EFF] or the public, and the judge relied on this evidence in his order.
Judge White did not rule on the legality or constitutionality of the NSA mass Internet surveillance we challenged. Rather, the court explained that the publicly available information did not paint a complete picture of how the NSA collects Internet traffic, so the court could not rule on the program without looking at information that could constitute “state secrets.”
“Because a fair and full adjudication of the Government Defendants’ defenses would require harmful disclosures of national security information that is protected by the state secrets privilege, the Court must exclude such evidence from the case,” Judge White writes in the decision. “Addressing any defenses involves a significant risk of potentially harmful effects any disclosures could have on national security.”
Also Must Read: Origin and History of the State Secrets Privilege
Federal Court Agrees with EFF, Throws Out Six Weeks of Warrantless Video Surveillance | Electronic Frontier Foundation
December 12, 2014 | By Hanni Fakhoury
Update: On December 15, Judge Edward Shea issued his written opinion in United States v. Vargas, which you can read here.
The public got an early holiday gift today when a federal court agreed with us that six weeks of continually video recording the frontyard of someone’s home without a search warrant violates the Fourth Amendment.
Automated Mass Surveillance is Unconstitutional, EFF Explains in Jewel v. NSA | Electronic Frontier Foundation
October 24, 2014
Today EFF filed our latest brief in Jewel v. NSA, our longstanding case on behalf of AT&T customers aimed at ending the NSA’s dragnet surveillance of millions of ordinary Americans’ communications. The brief specifically argues that the Fourth Amendment is violated when the government taps into the Internet backbone at places like the AT&T facility on Folsom Street in San Francisco.
Fourth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America:
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects,
against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated,
and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation,
and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized