A federal appeals recently revived a lawsuit, Jewel v. NSA, challenging the NSA's use of the nation's largest telecommunication providers to conduct suspicionless surveillance of Americans. The three-judge panel reversed a lower court decision that rejected claims based on lack of standing. The case will now return to the district court for a decision on the merits. The same three-judge panel also rejected a related suit against the telecommunications providers, Hepting v. AT&T, based on the "retroactive immunity" provided by Congress in 2008. EPIC, in cooperation with the Stanford Constitutional Law Center, filed a "Friend of the Court" brief in support of the plaintiffs in these cases, arguing that statutory and constitutional privacy violations are sufficient to establish standing, and that the state secrets doctrine should not bar adjudication. For more information, see EPIC: Hepting v. AT&T and EPIC: NSA Warrantless Surveillance.
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Communications Law and Policy
Jerry Kang and Alan Butler