WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — The US National Security Agency’s (NSA) mass surveillance program infringes on privacy rights and freedom of expression, Freedom House said in a statement on Wednesday in support of a lawsuit against the spy agency.
“The NSA’s mass, warrantless surveillance of internet communications can undermine the basic right to privacy and inhibit free exchanges of ideas,” Freedom House Executive Vice-President Daniel Calingaert said.
“Congress should reform the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act to clearly require that authorities have probable cause before undertaking surveillance of emails, web-browsing content, and search engine queries, a principle the courts should uphold. Protections against warrantless searches should extend to our online communications,” Calingaert added.
Wikimedia filed the lawsuit together with eight other organizations, including Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, and will be represented by the American Civil Liberties Union.
The plaintiffs claim that the NSA violated the 2008 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act amendments by capturing communications not related to the category of "foreign intelligence information," including communications by Wikimedia users and employees.
Wikimedia started to discuss the possibility of suing the NSA in 2014, after former NSA contractor Edward Snowden publicly disclosed the agency's mass surveillance techniques.
Since 2013, Snowden has been publishing information about the NSA and about other intelligence agencies surveillance programs through which they illegally collect data about Internet users as well as telecommunications companies collecting data on customers and staff.
Wikimedia Foundation is a US non-profit organization that is best known for operating the Internet encyclopedia Wikipedia, which is one of the most visited websites in the world.