The lawsuit by Wikimedia and other plaintiffs challenges the National Security Agency’s use of upstream surveillance, which collects the content of communications, instead of just the metadata. Patrick Semansky/AP hide caption
The lawsuit by Wikimedia and other plaintiffs challenges the National Security Agency’s use of upstream surveillance, which collects the content of communications, instead of just the metadata.
Earlier this week, Wikimedia, the parent company of Wikipedia, filed a lawsuit against the National Security Agency, saying that the NSA’s use of “upstream” mass surveillance violates the First and Fourth Amendments.
Under “upstream” surveillance, an American sending an email or making a video call to someone in another country could have the content of their correspondence collected by the NSA. That might even be true if the message is sent to someone in the U.S., but the data was passed through a foreign server.
Wikimedia was joined by several other plaintiffs in the suit, and will be helped by the American Civil Liberties Union, Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales wrote in an op-ed in the New York Times.
Stephen Vladeck, a professor at the American University Washington College of Law and an expert on national security law, explained the lawsuit and its implications to NPR’s Arun Rath.
On what the upstream surveillance program does
Under upstream, what the NSA is apparently doing is they’re tapping the backbone of the Internet. In effect, if we think of the Internet as a highway, they’re on the highway and intercepting traffic as it crosses the highway.
In critical distinction to the programs that we’ve learned about already, the programs that are already being challenged, part of what the NSA is collecting through upstream is content that is to say, the content of phone calls, the content of emails, and not just the metadata that has been at the heart of, for example, the bulk phone records program.
On privacy concerns
Originally posted here:
An 'Upstream' Battle As Wikimedia Challenges NSA Surveillance