Wikimedia sues the NSA

The Wikimedia Foundation — which oversees Wikipedia — eight other organizations, and the ACLU have filed a lawsuit against the DoJ and the NSA, contesting the spy agency's program of mass "upstream" surveillance.

The goal of the suit is to "end this mass surveillance program in order to protect the rights of our users around the world." Also joined to the suit are The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International USA, Pen American Center, Global Fund for Women, The Nation Magazine, The Rutherford Institute, and Washington Office on Latin America.

The Snowden leaks established that Wikipedia and Wikimedia were specifically targeted by the NSA for surveillance. The Foundation argues that surveillance undermines the basis for intellectual inquiry necessary to carry on its mission.

"By tapping the backbone of the internet, the NSA is straining the backbone of democracy," said Lila Tretikov, executive director of the Wikimedia Foundation. "Wikipedia is founded on the freedoms of expression, inquiry, and information. By violating our users' privacy, the NSA is threatening the intellectual freedom that is central to people's ability to create and understand knowledge."

The NSA has interpreted the FAA as offering free rein to define threats, identify targets, and monitor people, platforms, and infrastructure with little regard for probable cause or proportionality. We believe that the NSA's current practices far exceed the already broad authority granted by the U.S. Congress through the FAA. Furthermore, we believe that these practices violate the U.S. Constitution's First Amendment, which protects freedom of speech and association, and the Fourth Amendment, which protects against unreasonable search and seizure.

Wikimedia v. NSA: Wikimedia Foundation files suit against NSA to challenge upstream mass surveillance [Michelle Paulson and Geoff Brigham/Wikimedia]

(Image: Nsa sign, National Security Agency, Public Domain)