The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), a public interest research center in Washington, D.C, has made a direct appeal to the Supreme Court. EPIC is asking the Supreme Court to find that NSA exceeded its authority by collecting data on American citizens.
EPIC is using the first of Edward Snowden’s leaks to pursue lawsuits against NSA. EPIC has skipped over all lower courts and initiated proceedings directly with the United States highest court.
The Snowden case shed great light on the U.S. government’s secret process for identifying, spying on and locating individuals for deadly drone strikes. In the appeal EPIC asks the Supreme Court “either to vacate the FIS Court order to Verizon or to bar its further enforcement.” They contend that the compelled production of millions of domestic telephone records “cannot plausibly be relevant to an authorized investigation of potential terrorist activities."
A brief has been filed by the government arguing that EPIC's complaint should be routed through lower courts first. The government also points out that the law that creates FISA Court does not provide any protection to third parties like EPIC. The government contends that EPIC has no proof that will satisfy the requirements in the Constitution’s Article III.
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The government is not arguing that EPIC can’t prove that its metadata was obtained, but it is arguing that “no citizen or entity other that the entity the records were obtained from has standing to sue or otherwise challenge FISA court orders.”
The government's response was filed on Sept. 30. In it the government argues that when law enforcement can monitor one person's information without a warrant, it can monitor everyone's information.
The government's battle to stop a new trial counts heavily on the recently de-classified opinion of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. FISA concluded that "where one individual does not have a Fourth Amendment interest, grouping together a large number of similarly situated individuals cannot result in a Fourth Amendment interest springing into existence ex nihilo."
The government’s goal is an unchallenged bulk collection. It is preparing to take down every argument in order to take out any possible challenges. So far the results have been a clear abuse of the Third Party Doctrine. Intelligence agencies are reaping all of the benefits while not being made to pay for the consequences.
Edited by Alisen Downey