It was recently discovered that a secret US court had deemed NSA spying as illegal, on at least one occasion. The surveillance by National Security Agency was being done under a 2008 Congress Act. Now, Electronic Frontier Foundation is demanding the specific ruling to be made public.
The ruling by the court is critically important because it provides privacy proponents one solid example of the abuse of power by intelligence agencies. For long, the privacy advocates have slammed the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Amendments Act of 2008 as a clear violation of basic rights of the Americans. On the other hand, security agencies have held that the act is meant solely to ensure national security.
And now, the case in question tends to suggest that intelligence agencies have indeed misused the powers vested in them through the 2008 Act. That is precisely why Electronic Frontier Foundation is demanding that the decisions by the court, which are kept secret “because of the sensitive intelligence matters they concern”, must be made public.
EFF filed a Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA) request to have the information released publicly but the Department of Justice failed to process the request within the deadline of 20 days. So EFF has now mounted its request with a further lawsuit against DoJ. Apparently, EFF is of the view that DoJ is complicit in trying to keep the information of the case discreet.
EFF has long held that with the 2008 Act, NSA has been able to spy on the communications of the Americans, without any reasons whatsoever. One of the chief reasons why EFF is pushing so much to have the court decision released to public is that it hopes that will help Congress decide the course of a critical debate about the future of surveillance program.
According to EFF, “The surveillance provisions in the FAA [FISA Amendments Act] will sunset at the end of this year unless Congress reauthorize the law. The pending congressional debate on reauthorization makes it all the more critical that the government release this information on the NSA’s actions.”