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NSA beats warrantless wiretap rap

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Chris Williams
The Register
Friday, January 22nd, 2010

A Federal judge has dismissed a complaint against the National Security Agency’s (NSA) Bush-era warrantless wiretapping programme, prompting suggestions the US government is now able to mount mass surveillance operations unhindered by the courts or constitution.

Five AT&T customers sued the NSA after it emerged it had persuaded the telco to provide a wiretap in a major internet traffic exchange in San Francisco. The five claimed the programme, revealed by an AT&T whistleblower, had violated privacy laws.

Late on Thursday, Judge Vaughn Walker ruled that because the internet traffic of millions of Americans had been caught up in the dragnet, the harm alleged in the complaint was not specific to the plaintiffs, so the case should not proceed.

“The court has determined that neither group of plaintiffs/purported class representatives has alleged an injury that is sufficiently particular to those plaintiffs or to a distinct group to which those plaintiffs belong; rather, the harm alleged is a generalized grievance shared in substantially equal measure by all or a large class of citizens,” wrote the Judge.

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This article was posted: Friday, January 22, 2010 at 11:43 am





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