[JURIST] The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) [advocacy website] on Monday filed an emergency petition [text, PDF] with the US Supreme Court [official website] challenging the National Security Agency (NSA) [official website] telephone record surveillance program. EPIC is arguing [press release, PDF] that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) exceeded its authority when it “ordered production of millions of domestic telephone records that cannot plausibly be relevant to an authorized investigation.” The secret court order was revealed last month by Edward Snowden, who has since been charged with espionage [JURIST reports] and has reportedly been offered asylum by Bolivia, Nicaragua and Venezuela.
Several other challenges to the surveillance program have been filed. Last month the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), in conjunction with the New York Civil Liberties Union [advocacy websites] filed a federal lawsuit [complaint, PDF] challenging the NSA’s phone data collection program. As a Verizon business network services customer, the ACLU argued [press release] that the program violates the rights of free speech and association as well as the right of privacy as protected by the First and Fourth Amendments. Also last month the ACLU DC affiliate and Yale Law School’s Media Freedom and Information Access Clinic [advocacy websites], filed a motion [text, PDF] with the FISC requesting that the court provide a statutory basis for its order. Earlier in June the first private suit challenging the surveillance was filed [text, PDF] in the US District Court for the District of Columbia [official website] by Larry Klayman [personal website], the former chairman of Judicial Watch [advocacy website], and a Philadelphia family who say the government has illegally spied on their private accounts.