Rand Paul launches class-action lawsuit to end NSA phone spying

Used a phone since 2006? Senator is suing for YOU


Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) has filed a lawsuit against President Obama and three top national security officials, seeking an end to what the suit describes as the US government's "mass, suspicionless, non-particularized" collection of data on US residents' phone calls.

"The Bill of Rights protects all citizens from general warrants," Paul said in a statement – a reference to the Fourth Amendment of the US Constitution, which explicitly forbids "unreasonable searches and seizures."

In addition to President Obama, the suit names Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, NSA Director Keith Alexander, and FBI director James Comey, Jr. as codefendants.

Joining Paul as a plaintiff is FreedomWorks, a right-wing pressure group that claims to have "hundreds of thousands of grassroots volunteers nationwide."

The lawsuit is a class-action effort that purports to be on behalf of "All persons afforded protections under the Fourth Amendment who made or received a cellular/wireless or terrestrial/landline telephone call that originated and/or terminated in the United States after May 2006."

The lawsuit seeks not only a declaration that the NSA's mass phone surveillance program is unconstitutional, but also court orders preventing the agencies from conducting similar surveillance and requiring them to destroy any phone metadata they have collected so far.

This is far from the first time that Paul, a member of the Tea Party movement, has clashed with the Obama administration over its policies. His official website urges constituents to send in stories of how their businesses have been impacted by the Affordable Care Act – aka "Obamacare" – and he has been an outspoken critic of the administration's use of drones for assassinations, among other issues.

That this latest effort will be successful, however, seems unlikely. Past attempts to sue the government over its phone surveillance program have yielded no fruit so far, and although judges have differed on the matter, the current prevailing opinion is that the program is legal.

In a press conference announcing the lawsuit on Wednesday, however, Paul was nothing but optimistic. "I expect this case to go all the way to the Supreme Court," he said, "and I predict the American people will win." ®

Similar topics


Other stories you might like

  • Amazon warehouse staff granted second chance to vote for unionization

    US labor watchdog tosses previous failed result in the trash

    America's labor watchdog has given workers at Amazon’s warehouse in Bessemer, Alabama, another crack at voting for unionization after their first attempt failed earlier this year.

    “It is ordered that the election that commenced on February 8 is set aside, and a new election shall be conducted,” Lisa Henderson, regional director at the National Labor Relations Board, ruled [PDF] on Tuesday.

    “The National Labor Relations Board will conduct a second secret ballot election among the unit employees. Employees will vote whether they wish to be represented for purposes of collective bargaining by the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union.”

    Continue reading
  • It's the flu season – FluBot, that is: Surge of info-stealing Android malware detected

    And a bunch of bank-account-raiding trojans also identified

    FluBot, a family of Android malware, is circulating again via SMS messaging, according to authorities in Finland.

    The Nordic country's National Cyber Security Center (NCSC-FI) lately warned that scam messages written in Finnish are being sent in the hope that recipients will click the included link to a website that requests permission to install an application that's malicious.

    "The messages are written in Finnish," the NCSC-FI explained. "They are written without Scandinavian letters (å, ä and ö) and include, for example, the characters +, /, &, % and @ in illogical places in the text to make it more difficult for telecommunications operators to filter the messages. The theme of the text may be that the recipient has received a voicemail message or a message from their mobile operator."

    Continue reading
  • AsmREPL: Wing your way through x86-64 assembly language

    Assemblers unite

    Ruby developer and internet japester Aaron Patterson has published a REPL for 64-bit x86 assembly language, enabling interactive coding in the lowest-level language of all.

    REPL stands for "read-evaluate-print loop", and REPLs were first seen in Lisp development environments such as Lisp Machines. They allow incremental development: programmers can write code on the fly, entering expressions or blocks of code, having them evaluated – executed – immediately, and the results printed out. This was viable because of the way Lisp blurred the lines between interpreted and compiled languages; these days, they're a standard feature of most scripting languages.

    Patterson has previously offered ground-breaking developer productivity enhancements such as an analogue terminal bell and performance-enhancing firmware for the Stack Overflow keyboard. This only has Ctrl, C, and V keys for extra-easy copy-pasting, but Patterson's firmware removes the tedious need to hold control.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2021