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October 26, 2015

US judge dismisses Wikimedia lawsuit over NSA mass spying

News: The group expects to appeal the decision.

By CBR Staff Writer

A US federal judge has dismissed the lawsuit brought by Wikimedia Foundation and others over the National Security Agency’s (NSA) mass surveillance programme.

US District Judge T.S. Ellis III said that there was not enough evidence to plausibly establish that the NSA is using upstream surveillance.

In the ruling, the judge noted that the plaintiffs could not prove that they had been spied on.

Ellis said: "As already discussed, although plaintiffs have alleged facts that plausibly establish that the NSA uses Upstream surveillance at some number of chokepoints, they have not alleged facts that plausibly establish that the NSA is using Upstream surveillance to copy all or substantially all communications passing through those chokepoints. In this regard, plaintiffs can only speculate, which Clapper forecloses as a basis for standing."

The Wikimedia Foundation said on its blog, "We respectfully disagree with the Court’s decision to dismiss. There is no question that Upstream surveillance captures the communications of both the user community and the Wikimedia Foundation itself."

The groups expect to appeal the decision to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Earlier this year, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) ruled that the NSA can restart the bulk collection of telephone metadata under the newly enacted USA Freedom Act.

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