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Smith v. Obama

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  1. Newsgathering
The Reporters Committee, joined by 17 other news organizations, submitted an amicus brief in a federal case against the federal…

The Reporters Committee, joined by 17 other news organizations, submitted an amicus brief in a federal case against the federal government over its collection of telephone log records. Plaintiff Anna Smith filed a lawsuit against the government alleging that its mass collection and logging of telephone call data violated her Fourth Amendment rights. The district court denied Plaintiff's request for injunctive relief, and granted the government's motion to dismiss. Plaintiff appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. The Reporters Committee filed an amicus brief in support of Plaintiff. Citing the close relationship between the First and Fourth Amendments, the Reporters Committee urged the Ninth Circuit on appeal to consider the impact of mass, indiscriminate government call tracking on the ability of the press to gather and disseminate news of public importance. Specifically, the Reporters Committee pointed to the chilling effect that widespread surveillance by the government was having on confidential reporter-source communications.