On Wednesday, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), a digital-rights group, filed evidence in its class-action lawsuit against AT&T that it says proves the telecommunications carrier directed its Internet traffic to the National Security Agency (NSA), according to the group’s release.
“The evidence that we are filing supports our claims that AT&T is diverting Internet traffic into the hands of the NSA wholesale, in violation of federal wiretapping laws and the Fourth Amendment,” said Kevin Bankston, an EFF staff attorney, in a statement. “More than just threatening individuals’ privacy, AT&T’s apparent choice to give the government secret, direct access to millions of ordinary Americans’ Internet communications is a threat to the Constitution itself. We are asking the Court to put a stop to it now.”
Though not a party to the suit, the Department of Justice (DoJ) stepped in and requested that the EFF wait to submit the documents until it could review them further; however, DoJ agreed to allow them to be filed under seal, which means the papers will be accessible only to the judge and the litigants, according to the EFF’s release. Under the seal, AT&T will have five court days to convince the court that the documents should not be made public, the EFF reports.
The DoJ is “presently considering whether and, if so, how it will participate in this case,” according to the group’s release.
Among the evidence submitted to the court is a declaration by retired AT&T telecommunications technician Mark Klein, and a number of internal company documents, the EFF reports.
The NSA surveillance program was exposed in December after The New York Times reported that President Bush had authorized the NSA to monitor communications within the United States without any prior court approval, according to the EFF. Further investigations in the following weeks proved that millions of communications between Americans were being intercepted by the NSA via a handful of the nation’s major telecommunications providers, including AT&T.
EFF is representing all of AT&T’s customers worldwide in the class-action lawsuit, according to the group’s release.
For related news coverage, read CIO sister publication, CSO’s Pentagon Confirms Security Database Housed Improper Info.
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