A coalition of online, media, legal and political advocacy groups has filed suit over the U.S. government’s mass surveillance. Organizations including Wikipedia and Human Rights Watch are challenging the National Security Agency’s Upstream program, which taps into the fiber-optic cables moving Internet traffic around the world. Attorney Patrick Toomey of the American Civil Liberties Union said the spying violates constitutional protections.
Patrick Toomey: “The NSA’s indiscriminate copying and searching through Americans’ international communications imposes a chilling effect on basic freedoms: the freedom of speech, the freedom of expression, the freedom of inquiry. And it also is an invasion of Americans’ right to privacy in those communications. We have long operated in this country on a basic rule that the government does not search your home, your papers, and today your emails, when you’ve done nothing wrong. And the flip side of that rule is that the government must go to a court with individualized suspicion when it wants access to those materials.”
The Supreme Court previously rejected an American Civil Liberties Union challenge to warrantless spying on the grounds the plaintiffs could not prove they were targeted.