A lawsuit filed in Maryland wants the NSA to end a program that it uses to tap into Internet streams and grab sensitive data on those connections. The suit, led by Wikimedia Foundation, filed on Tuesday is the latest against the agency and their unconstitutional spying programs involving US citizens discovered in the leaked documents stolen by government contractor Edward Snowden.
Other lawsuits, still in litigation, involve the collection of metadata on users. This lawsuit is focused on upstream collection of user data, where the data is not at the user level. The 1st Amendment providing freedom of speech and the 4th Amendment to the Constitution not allowing unreasonable search and seizure are being violated by this upstream data collection.
The group feels that spying will dissuade users from sharing sensitive information with the online services as the users will know the US government has access to the source of the information and therefore might act upon the individual submitting it.
The lawsuit’s first hurdle will be proving legal standing. The plaintiffs must show that someone was injured by the government’s surveillance of this data. And the government would only have this information is a classified form that it is not at this time required to make available for such a lawsuit.