IBM tape drives from the early 1970s at the NSA. National Security Agency The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and its allies have been litigating against government surveillance for years to no avail.
Now, armed with information made public by recent National Security Agency (NSA) leaks and a wide array of clients worried about widespread surveillance, the group hopes its latest attempt will have better luck. In a complaint filed today, First Unitarian Church v. NSA, the EFF challenges the government’s collection of telephone call information, saying the practice violates the First, Fourth, and Fifth Amendments of the US Constitution.
The complaint states that Verizon, AT&T, and Sprint all participate in the data collection, which includes originating and terminating phone numbers, trunk identifiers, calling card numbers, and time and duration of calls.
The NSA itself has acknowledged the program in the wake of the leaks, which EFF legal director Cindy Cohn says removes at least one government strategy: stonewalling litigation by claiming a program’s existence is a “state secret.”