EFF Files New Lawsuit Over Illegal Electronic Surveillance

The Electronic Frontier Foundation, which had sued AT&T over its participation in the National Security Agency's warrantless electronic surveillance program, only to have Congress throw a wrench in it by passing a law giving the telecoms retroactive immunity, has filed a new lawsuit against President Bush, Dick Cheney and the Government, taking a different approach.

. "For years, the NSA has been engaged in a massive and massively illegal fishing expedition through AT&T's domestic networks and databases of customer records. Our goal in this new case against the government, as in our case against AT&T, is to dismantle this dragnet surveillance program as soon as possible."

In addition to suing the government agencies involved in the domestic dragnet, the lawsuit also targets the individuals responsible for creating, authorizing, and implementing the illegal program, including President Bush and Vice President Cheney.

The complaint is here (pdf). I encourage everyone to read at least the prelimary statement that outlines the scope of the old TSP (Terrorist Surveillance Program) and how it continues to be used today. Your e-mails, phone records and more are subject to being swept up in this dragnet surveillance program.[More...]

Using this shadow network of surveillance devices, Defendants have acquired and continue to acquire the content of a significant portion of the phone calls, emails, instant messages, text messages, web communications and other communications, both international and domestic, of practically every American who uses the phone system or the Internet, including Plaintiffs and class members, in an unprecedented suspicionless general search through the nationís communications networks

In addition to using surveillance devices to acquire the domestic and international communications content of millions of ordinary Americans, Defendants have unlawfully solicited and obtained from telecommunications companies such as AT&T the complete and ongoing disclosure of the private telephone and Internet transactional records of those companiesí millions of customers (including communications records pertaining to Plaintiffs and class members), communications records indicating who the customers communicated with, when and for how long, among other sensitive information.

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    Any Idea Why (none / 0) (#1)
    by The Maven on Fri Sep 19, 2008 at 03:48:46 PM EST
    this new action was assigned to U.S.D.J. Charles Breyer rather than to Vaughn Walker?  Judge Walker is still handling (to the best of my knowledge) all the other surveillance cases, including Hepting, which the Ninth Circuit recently remanded in light of the FISA Amendments Act.  The new case's docket gives no indication that EFF attempted to note this as a related matter (and Hepting is the second named plaintiff here, after Jewel), so this would appear to be a random judicial assignment, and it would be hard to believe that plaintiffs could hope for a more favorable judge than Walker.

    Breyer's no slouch (none / 0) (#2)
    by scribe on Fri Sep 19, 2008 at 04:44:18 PM EST
    as a judge.

    I'd suspect it's random assignment.

    Oh, and his brother is Justice Steven Breyer.  But you already knew that.