By: TJ Martinell
The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is taking the National Security Agency (NSA) to court, claiming their web data collection program is unconstitutional. They’re right. But can we count on the courts to agree with them? And if they don’t, then what?
EFF says this is the first challenge to the NSA’s upstream data collection program in a public court. The NSA claims its program is legal under Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).
An initial hearing was held last week in an Oakland court. But one has to wonder if this lawsuit is just a waste of the advocacy group’s time and money. After all, in reality, they are asking one part of the federal government to tell another part of the same government that it can’t do something. What are the odds this court will side with the EFF instead of its own?
For liberty lovers, history tends to be pessimistic when it comes to federal courts defending our rights.
If the court sides with the NSA, EFF can try again. And again.
They can also continue to operate within the realm of “reasonable political actions” and appeal to Congress, which just approved the Intelligence Authorization Act 2015.
Section 309 of the bill allows for the “the acquisition, retention, and dissemination” of US phone and internet data” by the NSA. The bill passed in the House in a 325–100 vote, with 50 Democrats and 45 Republicans opposing.
EFF is better off betting money on a cripple horse at the Kentucky Derby than getting Congress to rein in the NSA.
Rather than throw all that money, time, and resources down the drain, they can help us at OffNow.org shut down the NSA by lobbying states like Utah to pass laws depriving the agency of necessary water to keep their facilities running. Unlike the courts, we know this plan will work. It worked in Nevada. It will work in Utah.
It’s time to stop trying to get the courts to side with us and take action that cuts directly to the source of our woes.