consultants are sandburs

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Larry Klayman's litigation against NSA domestic spying is benefited by an amicus brief filed jointly by EFF and ACLU.

This EFF press release link, this excerpt:

In the new amicus brief in Klayman v. Obama, the EFF and ACLU lawyers repudiate arguments by U.S. officials that the records are "just metadata" and therefore not as sensitive as the contents of phone calls. Using research and new case law, the civil liberties groups argue that metadata (such as who individuals called, when they called, and how long they spoke) can be even more revealing than conversations when collected en masse.

"Metadata isn't trivial," EFF Legal Fellow Andrew Crocker says. "Collected on a massive scale over a broad time period, metadata can reveal your political and religious affiliations, your friends and relationships, even whether you have a health condition or own guns. This is exactly the kind of warrantless search the Fourth Amendment was intended to prevent."

The brief explains that changes in technology, as well as the government's move from targeted to mass surveillance, mean that the holding of the 1979 Supreme Court case Smith v. Maryland that the government relies on (often called the "third-party doctrine") does not apply. Instead, EFF and the ACLU point to a series of recent key decisions—including the Supreme Court decisions in United States v. Jones in 2012 and Riley v. California in 2014—in which judges ruled in favor of requiring a warrant for electronic search and seizure.

"Dragnet surveillance is and has always has been illegal in the United States," says ACLU Staff Attorney Alex Abdo. [...]

For the amicus brief itself, online in pdf document form:

UPDATE: The brief is not tedious to read. You can scan the header info, list of cases, etc., and start at the first prong of the two pronged ARGUMENT: METADATA REVEALS HIGHLY PERSONAL AND SENSITIVE INFORMATION (second prong being THE BULK COLLECTION OF TELEPHONE RECORDS VIOLATES INDIVIDUALS’ REASONABLE EXPECTATION OF PRIVACY).

If you do read it, ask yourself, (as a quintessential reasonable person), does this exceed MY basic expectation of privacy?

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