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Justices Hear Arguments in Surveillance Standing Case

The Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Clapper v. Amnesty International, a case concerning the right to challenge illegal surveillance. A federal appeals court ruled in favor of a group of plaintiffs, including human rights advocates, journalists and attorneys, and held that their costs incurred to avoid surveillance were sufficient to establish a live controversy under the Constitution. Solicitor General Donald Verilli, arguing on behalf of the United States and the Director of National Intelligence, claimed that plaintiffs could not establish a sufficiently concrete injury because they do not know if they had been subject to surveillance. The Justices, including Justice Kennedy, seemed concerned about the possibility of government surveillance of privileged attorney-client communications. EPIC filed an amicus brief, joined by thirty-two legal scholars and technical experts, and six privacy and open government organizations, arguing that the plaintiffs concerns were well founded considering the surveillance capabilities of the NSA and the failure to establish sufficient public reporting requirements for lawful surveillance. For more information, see: EPIC: Clapper v. Amnesty Int'l USA and EPIC: Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

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