Posts Tagged ‘Jewel v. NSA’
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.
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
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