How the NSA leaks may help EFF sue the government into defending its bulk surveillance programs
[Via Boing Boing]
The “other shoe” in the Edward Snowden NSA leaks has been the potential effect of all these disclosures on the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s efforts to force the government to account for itself in court. Since 2005 — when Mark Klein, a former AT&T worker came into EFF’s offices with documentary evidence of a secret room at AT&T’s Folsom Street switching center, where the NSA was effectively making a copy of all the traffic on AT&T’s network without a warrant — the EFF has been trying to get the government to explain to a judge why they think this kind of bulk surveillance is legal.
But at every turn, the Bush and Obama DoJs have convinced judges that these questions can’t be asked in court, let alone answered. The invocation of state secrecy has stymied all attempts to date at getting the government to square the circle on the Fourth Amendment and bulk, warrantless surveillance of every American’s Internet traffic.
The Catch-22 in all this was that the cases did not even get herd in court because the government said that need to hide the very technology was great enough to be a state secret. How could you have a court case about the appropriateness of collecting all that data when the very idea that the data was being collected was secret?
And courts let this go.. People who had evidence that the US was gathering their data were, nonetheless, not allowed to have a court examine this because the Executive branch claimed the very discussion was a state secret.
Well, not so secret anymore. The Executive branch can not relaly claim a state secret on something that is not secret anymore.
This may be the real damage to ‘security’ they are worried about – thousands of people suing.