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19 organizations file suit over US spying


Nineteen U.S. organizations have sued the National Security Agency over the U.S. government’s massive spying programs.

A broad coalition of activist groups filed a lawsuit in San Francisco federal court on Tuesday demanding an immediate end to the “unconstitutional program of dragnet electronic surveillance”.

Last month, American whistleblower Edward Snowden blew the lid on massive surveillance by the NSA including two major spying programs, one for gathering U.S. phone records and another, codenamed PRISM, for tracking the use of U.S.-based web servers by American citizens and other nationals.

“Defendants’ collection of telephone communications information includes, but is not limited to, recordings indicating who each customer communicates with, at what time, for how long and with what frequency communications occur. This communications information discloses the expressive and private associational connections among individuals and groups, including Plaintiffs and their members and staff,” said the lawsuit.

The lawsuit was filed by the Electronic Frontier Foundation on behalf of a broad coalition of groups including the First Unitarian Church of Los Angeles, Greenpeace, Human Rights Watch, and the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

“This lawsuit challenges an illegal and unconstitutional program of dragnet electronic surveillance, specifically the bulk acquisition, collection, storage, retention, and searching of telephone communications information,” the suit read.

The legal action is at least the fourth filed against the U.S. government’s massive spying programs.

The Electronic Privacy Information Center, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Larry Klayman, the former chairman of Judicial Watch, have also challenged the NSA’s spying programs, taking different legal paths.

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