US Courts Dismiss Dozens of Spying Cases, EFF and ACLU Seek Appeal

by Irma Arkus

In US, federal judges ascertained that cases illegal domestic surveillance of American citizens are to be dismissed, based on the fact that Telecoms have immunity from prosecution under the controversial FISA Amendments Act (FISAAA).

Dozens of cases tying government’s illegal wiretapping and communication surveillance have been brought to the courts by the Electronic Frontier
Foundation (EFF) and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).

As previously discussd, EFF in particular addressed a case of NSA wiretapping activities in San Francisco. These, EFF argued, are unconstitutional.

Now that the cases of wiretapping and surveillance of US citizens are to be dismissed, EFF and American Civil Liberties Union will appeal on the basis that FISAAA is unconstitutional.

According to EFF’s latest press release, “The retroactive immunity law unconstitutionally takes away Americans’ claims arising out of the First and Fourth Amendments, violates the federal government’s separation of powers as established in the Constitution, and robs innocent telecom customers of their rights without due process of law.”

Signed by President Bush in 2008, the FISAAA allowed for the dismissal of the lawsuits over the telecoms’ participation in the warrantless surveillance program if the government secretly certifies to the court that the surveillance did
not occur, was legal, or was authorized by the president.

Then-Attorney General Michael Mukasey filed that classified certification with the court in September and demanded that the cases be dismissed.

“The immunity legislation that the court upheld today gives the telephone companies a free pass for flouting the law and violating the privacy rights of millions of their customers,” said Ann Brick, ACLU of Northern California
staff attorney.