The Wikimedia Foundation, Amnesty International and a host of civil rights groups sued the National Security Agency and the US Department of Justice on Tuesday challenging the mass surveillance programme uncovered by whistleblower Edward Snowden.
“We’re filing suit today on behalf of our readers and editors everywhere,” said Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia, in a statement on Wikimedia’s blog.“Surveillance erodes the original promise of the internet: an open space for collaboration and experimentation, and a place free from fear.”
According to the lawsuit, the NSA’s mass surveillance of internet traffic in the United States violates the US constitution’s first amendment, which protects freedom of speech and association, and the fourth amendment, which protects against unreasonable search and seizure.
Filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) in the US district court in Maryland the suit names the attorney general, Eric Holder, director of intelligence, James Clapper and NSA director, Michael Rogers, as well as their respective offices.
The lawsuit challenges the “suspicionless seizure and searching of internet traffic” by the NSA in the US that it says is done by “tapping directly into the internet backbone inside the United States — the network of high-capacity cables, switches, and routers that today carry vast numbers of Americans’ communications with each other and with the rest of the world.”