It appears that Judge Jeffrey White of the Northern District of California, has decided to allow the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s case against the government to proceed. The EFF, who has been attempting to take Big Brother to task since the Bush administration has finally gotten a big win. Judge White dismissed some smaller statutory claims, however he dismissed the notion that the case would not be able to proceed due to “State Secrets.”
Cindy Cohn, EFF’s Legal Director had this to say:
“The court rightly found that the traditional legal system can determine the legality of the mass, dragnet surveillance of innocent Americans and rejected the government’s invocation of the state secrets privilege to have the case dismissed. Over the last month, we came face-to-face with new details of mass, untargeted collection of phone and Internet records, substantially confirmed by the Director of National Intelligence. Today’s decision sets the stage for finally getting a ruling that can stop the dragnet surveillance and restore Americans’ constitutional rights.”
While this is a landmark decision, we must not celebrate prematurely. The court’s order only allows the case to proceed, no other decisions have been made about the substance of the case. Between the case itself and the likely appeals this may very well drag on for years. You should probably buy stock in ConAgra foods, because this may require a LOT of popcorn!
Read the EFF’s press release here.
The full court order can be seen here.