Privacy group demands Supreme Court halts NSA surveillance programs

A privacy watchdog group on Thursday announced that it will file a petition asking the Supreme Court to vacate the ruling that allows the National Security Agency to gather domestic surveillance data.

At a Restore the Fourth rally in Washington, D.C. on Thursday,
the Domestic Surveillance Project division of the Electronic
Privacy Information Center (EPIC) announced plans to once again
urge the high court to revoke authorization of the NSA spy
programs. The rally was one of many public events held in
the US to protest the NSA surveillance programs first leaked by
whistleblower Edward Snowden last month. 

We believe that the NSA’s collection of domestic
communications contravenes the First and Fourth Amendments to the
United States Constitution, and violates several federal privacy
laws, including the Privacy Act of 1974, and the Foreign
Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 as amended
,” the
petition reads.

We ask the NSA to immediately suspend collection of solely
domestic communications pending the competition of a public
rulemaking as required by law. We intend to renew our request
each week until we receive your response
,” the petition
continues.

Nearly 2,000 US residents have signed the EPIC petition, which is
addressed to NSA Director General Keith B. Alexander and Defense
Secretary Chuck Hagel. A previous petition filed on June 17
received no response from the government.

As the privacy group announced its plans, crowds across the US
gathered on the July 4 holiday to protest the NSA surveillance
programs. More than 400 people gathered at Restore the Fourth
events in New York and Washington, and about 300 gathered in San
Francisco. Americans gathered in about 100 other cities, holding
signs and chanting in opposition of domestic spying. Organizers
of the rallies told Reuters that about 10,000 people were
expected to rally for their cause on Thursday.

Happy Fourth of July! Immediately stop your unconstitutional
spying on the world’s Internet users — The People
,” read a
statement on the Restore the Fourth website.

The NSA’s programs have also sparked outrage and generated
lawsuits and petitions from a number of other Americans and
privacy groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union. The
ACLU’s lawsuit differs from EPIC’s petition by claiming that the
agency’s programs violate the First Amendment, with no mention of
the Fourth Amendment.

But with multiple documents filed against the agency and EPIC
pledging to file new documents every week, it may become more
difficult for the NSA to ignore the complaints.

EPIC truly believes that this Foreign Intelligence
Surveillance Court exceeded its authority, is not acting in
accordance with the law and needs to be overturned – and cannot
be allowed to continue conducting this surveillance
,” Amie
Stepanovich, director of EPIC’s Domestic Surveillance Project,
told ThinkProgress.

The privacy group plans to file its petition on Monday. 

Republished with permission from: RT