Former mayor of SLC suing NSA for warrantless Olympic surveillance


Rocky Anderson is suing the agency for spying on him (and everyone else in Salt Lake City) during the 2002 Olympics -- he's added his name to a mass lawsuit against the NSA, FBI, George W. Bush, Michael Hayden, Dick Cheney and 50 "Does."

The suit turns on the Stellar Wind wiretapping program, whose existence was revealed in a Snowden leak.

Salt Lake City sits just north of Bluffdale, home of the NSA's controversial mammoth data-center; the traditional Mormon population of the region is historically hostile to mass surveillance and government overreach, thanks to the contentious history of the LDS and the US government.

The lawsuit alleges First and Fourth Amendment violations, as well as violations of FISA, the Wiretap Act and the Stored Communications Act. It also cites similar violations of Utah's Constitution.

I'm not sure this suit has any chance of surviving a motion to dismiss by the government. While standing is easier to achieve now that leaked documents have verified the specifics of the NSA's collection programs, the courts have generally granted more deference to the government's "national security" arguments. What is (slightly) helpful is that the Second Circuit found the Section 215 bulk collection isn't actually authorized by the Patriot Act. While Utah resides outside of that Circuit, decisions that question the legitimacy of bulk surveillance still may prove useful to the plaintiffs' claims.

Prominent Salt Lake City Residents Sue The NSA Over Mass Warrantless Surveillance During The 2002 Olympics [Tim Cushing/Techdirt]