EFFing Awesome


The Electronic Frontier Foundation yesterday won permission to lawsuit against AT&T, which has been aiding the NSA by siphoning off information about communications passing through its networks for pattern analysis. You can read the full decision, listen to a conference call with EFF attorney Cindy Cohn, or check out Orin Kerr's analysis of the ruling. The short version is that the government can't just quash judicial scrutiny into its surveillance activities just by shouting "national security" unless it provides some reason to think that any investigation will actually tend to undermine security: If don't want to disclose particular pieces of information, they can make the argument on a case-by-case basis to a judge. Kerr also notes the presiding judge's surprisingly bold statement (which is dicta, but interesting nonetheless) that "AT&T cannot seriously contend that a reasonable entity in its position could have believed that the alleged domestic dragnet was legal."


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  1. Good.

  2. Julian gets a 9.1 on this thread. Excellent title but this line needs some help,”yesterday won permission to lawsuit against AT&T”.

    OT, good. It is amazing that the people should not be allowed to question it’s Government’s actions in criminal or civil court.

  3. Just giving you some love….seems there is a post haste post race going on.

  4. And Julian nails the dismount!!!! 9.76

  5. Now it’s time to give more money to the EFF. Please consider it: they do great work and need the money.

  6. 10.0 for mentioning Iron Mike.

    Wadda ya mean, it’s spelled Ditka? Same thing, asshole.

  7. “AT&T cannot seriously contend that a reasonable entity in its position could have believed that the alleged domestic dragnet was legal.”

    Wouldn’t it follow that the government employees who ordered, authorized, and made the request also could not have believed it was legal?

  8. MikeP, yes, but the California lawsuit was (I believe) solely brought against AT&T and the US government is appearing only as an intervenor.

  9. I’m not sure why it is “awesome” that this lawsuit is being allowed to continue, since it appears to violate AT&T’s property rights. They, not their customers, own the data in their databases, as it was created by AT&T’s systems, not by their customers. If they had recorded the phone conversations themselves, that would be another matter — but they apparently only shared switching information, which is theirs.

    It is good that the government didn’t just get to play the “national security” card unquestioned. But the EFF is (as it sometimes does) inventing a bullshit “right” for consumers that neither does nor should exist. If people don’t like what AT&T does with their data, the libertarian solution is to refuse to patronize AT&T — not to sign on to extortion via tort.

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