Wikimedia Foundation sues the NSA, looking to end the mass surveillance program

The Wikimedia Foundation, the nonprofit organization behind Wikipedia, has recently announced its decision to sue the National Security Agency (NSA) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) over the mass surveillance program run by the NSA.

Wikimedia joins forces with eight other organizations, including the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, the Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International USA. The aim of the lawsuit is to challenge the "large-scale search and seizure of internet communications — frequently referred to as “upstream” surveillance," and put an end on it.

The organization says that the NSA is using questionable methods for acquiring the data, and that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Amendments Act allows it to collect any communications that can be categorized as “foreign intelligence information”. This is a broad term that gives the NSA the ability to include pretty much anything, suggesting that there's a lot of potential for abuse.

The program casts a vast net, and as a result, captures communications that are not connected to any “target,” or may be entirely domestic. This includes communications by our users and staff.By tapping the backbone of the internet, the NSA is straining the backbone of democracy. Wikipedia is founded on the freedoms of expression, inquiry, and information. By violating our users’ privacy, the NSA is threatening the intellectual freedom that is central to people’s ability to create and understand knowledge.

Wikimedia believes that by doing this, the NSA is violating the U.S. Constitution’s First and Fourth Amendment, which protect the freedom of speech and association, and against unreasonable search and seizure, respectively.

Its proof is based on leaks made by Edward Snowden, which include a slide from a classified NSA presentation that features the Wikimedia trademark in it, and revealed that its users were also targeted by the surveillance program. The organization believes that this will help establish a strong case.

Source: Wikimedia Foundation Blog | Lady Justice image via Shutterstock

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