The Domestic Surveillance Project division of the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) announced Thursday that it plans to file a petition asking the U.S. Supreme Court to vacate the Foreign Surveillance Intelligence Court (FISC) ruling which authorized the National Security Agency (NSA) to collect metadata on domestic phone calls. According to Think Progress, the privacy rights group intends to file the petition on Monday.
Domestic Surveillance Project Director Amie Stepanovich made the announcement at a Restore the Fourth rally in Washington on Thursday, one of several rallies across the country dedicated to protesting the NSA’s sweeping spying programs and invoke the Fourth Amendment’s protections against unreasonable searches and seizures.
Stepanovich told Think Progress after the rally, “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.”
EPIC submitted a previous petition to Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel and NSA Director General Keith Alexander demanding the suspension of the domestic metadata collection program.
“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,” reads the petition.
“We hereby petition the National Security Agency, a component of the Department of Defense, for relief,” it continued. “We ask the NSA to immediately suspend collection of solely domestic communications pending the completion of a public rulemaking as required by law. We intend to renew our request each week until we receive your response.”
Other rights agencies have opened legal challenges against the NSA, including the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), who challenged the domestic information gathering program as an infringement upon First Amendment rights of free speech and association, Fourth Amendment privacy protections and that the program exceeds the authority of the Patriot Act.
David Ferguson is an editor at Raw Story. He was previously writer and radio producer in Athens, Georgia, hosting two shows for Georgia Public Broadcasting and blogging at Firedoglake.com and elsewhere. He is currently working on a book.
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