Wikipedia to sue the NSA over mass surveillance

Wikimedia Foundation, the non-profit organisation behind the free online encyclopaedia Wikipedia, will file a lawsuit against National Security Agency and the U.S. Department of Justice over the government’s surveillance program, Reuters reports.

Under the lawsuit which should be filed today, the NSA’s Upsteam program (mass surveillance of internet traffic) violated the First and the Fourth Amendment of the US Constitution.

The First Amendment protects freedom of speech, and the Fourth Amendment protects from unreasonable search and seizure.

"By tapping the backbone of the internet, the NSA is straining the backbone of democracy," Lila Tretikov, executive director of the Wikimedia Foundation wrote in a blog post on its website.

"Wikipedia is founded on the freedoms of expression, inquiry, and information. By violating our users' privacy, the NSA is threatening the intellectual freedom that is central to people's ability to create and understand knowledge."

The Wikimedia Foundation claims the NSA has already exceeded the broad authority the Congress has given it.

“We believe that the NSA’s practices and limited judicial review of those practices violate Article III of the U.S. Constitution. A specialised court, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC), hears issues related to foreign intelligence requests, including surveillance.

"Under U.S. law, the role of the courts is to resolve “cases” or “controversies” — not to issue advisory opinions or interpret theoretical situations. In the context of upstream surveillance, FISC proceedings are not “cases,” it says in the blog post.

Wikimedia and the eight other organisations filing the lawsuit, including the Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International USA, will be represented by the American Civil Liberties Union.