ACLU Sues Government Over 'Dragnet' Surveillance Of Americans


The American Civil Liberties Union filed a scathing lawsuit in an effort to stop the federal government’s tracking of American citizens.

The ACLU’s suit comes after bombshell reports revealed that the National Secuirty Agency was obtaining access to systems of Google and other tech giants to read Americans’ emails. The federal government is also allegedly collecting data of Verizon Business Service Network phone users.

These practices violate Americans’ right to free speech, association, and privacy, the ACLU says. From its complaint:

This lawsuit challenges the government’s dragnet acquisition of Plaintiffs’ telephone records under Section 215 of the Patriot Act, 50 U.S.C. § 1861. In response to information published by the media, the government has acknowledged that it is relying on Section 215 to collect “metadata” about every phone call made or received by residents of the United States. The practice is akin to snatching every American’s address book—with annotations detailing whom we spoke to, when we talked, for how long, and from where. It gives the government a comprehensive record of our associations and public movements, revealing a wealth of detail about our familial, political, professional, religious, and intimate associations.

The ACLU is asking a court to stop the government’s tracking of Americans and to purge the information it already has.

This fight could eventually make its way to the Supreme Court, especially since the ACLU is actually a Verizon customer and arguably has “standing” to bring the suit, The New York Times’ Charles Savage reports.



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