November 19, 2020 | News | No Comments
A diverse coalition of groups represented by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has filed suit against the NSA on Tuesday for its bulk, unconstitutional collection of Americans’ phone records.
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Among the 19 organizations making up the broad coalition represented in the case, First Unitarian Church of Los Angeles v. NSA, are Unitarian church groups, gun rights groups, Greenpeace, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, People for the American Way (PFAW) and TechFreedom.
Craig Aaron, President and CEO of Free Press, another organization behind the lawsuit, sees the diversity in the groups represented as “further evidence of the far-reaching impact of the government’s spying program.”
“The NSA’s unchecked collection of Americans’ telephone records, including the telephone records of organizations like PFAW, is a blatantly unconstitutional attack on our civil liberties,” PFAW President Michael Keegan said in a statement.
The complaint asserts that the plaintiffs’ First, Fourth and Fifth Amendment rights have been violated.
EFF explains that
“Who we call, how often we call them, and how long we speak shows the government what groups we belong to or associate with, which political issues concern us, and our religious affiliation,” stated EFF Legal Director Cindy Cohn. “Exposing this information – especially in a massive, untargeted way over a long period of time – violates the Constitution and the basic First Amendment tests that have been in place for over 50 years.”
Rev. Rick Hoyt of the First Unitarian Church of Los Angeles remembers well the “McCarthy hysteria” era when the groups and associations a person belonged to were under scrutiny, something his church resisted fiercely and instead supported blacklisted writers and actors.
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