ACLU Case Against NSA over Phone Data Collection Moves Forward

On Thursday the U.S. Justice Department was rebuked by a U.S. District Court Judge for seeking to delay proceedings in a case against the NSA brought forward by the American Civil Liberties Union. The Justice Department had asked the court for an extension of time in the case so that it could declassify related documents, but U.S. District Judge William Pauley rebuked the agency, telling lawyers for the DOJ that it was in a courtroom and not some sort of marketplace.

"This is not a bazaar, it's a courtroom," the judge said before he denied the federal government's request to reschedule. Judge Pauley ordered that motions be filed by Aug. 26, and that oral arguments will begin Nov. 1.

The ACLU filed the case after NSA leaker Edward Snowden revealed that the NSA was collecting mobile phone data from Verizon and other customers in the United States. The ACLU is seeking an injunction to block Verizon from turning over phone records to the government.

Attorney Jameel Jaffer, representing the American Civil Liberties Union, argued that the government has demonstrated that it could declassify material quickly "when it wanted to."

The ACLU believes that knowledge of the program makes whistle-blowers hesitant to contact it for fear of being spied on by the government.

"As every day goes by, the government is monitoring every phone call to the ACLU," Jaffer said in court.

The ACLU believes that the mobile phone data collection by the NSA violates the First and Fourth Amendments to the Constitution.

The case will move forward in the U.S. District Court in Manhattan August 26. We will continue to follow this story.

Source: Courthouse News


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