The Federal Government Fails to Stop Federal Government Spying…Again

Federal courts once again failed to protect Americans from ubiquitous NSA spying.

On Friday, US District Judge T.S. Ellis III dismissed a suit against the NSA brought by the ACLU on behalf of Wikimedia, the parent company that publishes Wikipedia. The judge held the company lacks standing to sue because it cannot definitively prove the NSA actually spied on it.

Ellis essentially argued that even though Wikipedia ranks as one of the largest sites on the Internet, and acknowledged that the company “plausibly established” the NSA does collect upstream data, it still cannot prove absolutely that the spy agency specifically scooped up any of the company’s data in its dragnet.

As already discussed, although plaintiffs have alleged facts that plausibly establish that the NSA uses Upstream surveillance at some number of chokepoints, they have not alleged facts that plausibly establish that the NSA is using Upstream surveillance to copy all or substantially all communications passing through those chokepoints. In this regard, plaintiffs can only speculate, which Clapper forecloses as a basis for standing.”

Ellis called Wikimedia’s argument “unpersuasive,” and said it relied on “the subjective fear of surveillance.”

The statistical analysis on which the argument rests is incomplete and riddled with assumptions. For one thing, plaintiffs insist that Wikipedia’s over one trillion annual Internet communications is significant in volume. But plaintiffs provide no context for assessing the significance of this figure. One trillion is plainly a large number, but size is always relative. For example, one trillion dollars are of enormous value, whereas one trillion grains of sand are but a small patch of beach.”

The Guardian provided some interesting background on Judge Ellis.

Ellis is a former navy aviator who in 2006 dismissed a suit against the CIA brought by a German man who accused the agency of abducting and torturing him as part of the US “extraordinary rendition” program. Notably, Ellis dismissed the case not on merit, but on the grounds that a trial would risk national security.

‘[P]rivate interests must give way to the national interest in preserving state secrets,’ he wrote at the time.”

This vividly illustrates the absurdity of depending on the federal government to protect Americans from the federal government.

Congress will not end warrantless surveillance. Federal courts will not end warrantless surveillance. The candidate you prefer in the upcoming presidential election will not end warrantless surveillance.

If you want your government to stop spying on you, you will have to take action to stop it.

State action can thwart the federal surveillance state. Click HERE to find out how.

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