Wikimedia v. NSA

February 24, 2016

Wikimedia, The Nation Magazine, and PEN American Center have joined with a group of other plaintiffs to challenge the constitutionality of "upstream" surveillance pursuant to Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act on the grounds that it violates the First Amendment as well as the Fourth Amendment. Under this program, the government compels backbone service providers—companies that control the telecommunications equipment through which ISPs route their traffic—to provide communications sent through their equipment to the government. The District Court held that the plaintiffs lacked standing to challenge the surveillance at issue because their claims were too speculative. We argued that, because communications surveillance under Section 702 impedes confidential reporter-source relationships and newsgathering, plaintiffs have alleged a sufficient harm to establish standing to sue.

Effort to reauthorize USA PATRIOT Act lacks basic safeguards for First Amendment rights

Hannah Bloch-Wehba | Commentary | April 22, 2015
April 22, 2015

Last night, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell introduced a new, fast-tracked bill to reauthorize Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act. Section 215, which allows the government to collect "tangible things" relevant to an authorized terrorism investigation, is set to expire on June 1, 2015. Senator McConnell's bill would extend the provision through 2020.

Sen. Wyden speaks out against new policy restricting access to intelligence sources

Bradleigh Chance | Newsgathering | News | June 18, 2014
June 18, 2014

On the Senate floor this week Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., praised new statutory protections for intelligence agency whistleblowers, but expressed concerns with a new policy created by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence that punishes intelligence agency employees for talking to the press.

Wyden worked with Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, to include the new whistleblower protections in a provision in the 2014 Intelligence Authorization bill, which passed unanimously Wednesday evening, but Wyden’s success with the bill is overshadowed by his frustrations with a new policy from the DNI.

Tech companies call on government to end bulk data collection and reform other surveillance policies

Jamie Schuman | Secret Courts | News | December 9, 2013
December 9, 2013

Eight leading technology companies called on the U.S. government Monday to end bulk data collection of Internet communications and to lead a worldwide effort to implement other reforms to surveillance policies.

The groups – AOL, Apple, Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Microsoft, Twitter and Yahoo – detailed five proposed reforms on a website and in a letter to President Obama and the U.S. Congress. They want courts that review surveillance policies to use a clear legal framework, have adversarial proceedings and publicize big decisions. They also are asking that governments limit their authority to collect data to specific, known users; allow companies to publish the number and nature of demands for records; respect the free flow of information across borders; and work to avoid conflicts amongst nations in policies that govern data requests.

Letter to Home Affairs Committee (U.K.)

December 2, 2013

The Reporters Committee submitted a letter, joined by 12 news organizations, to the U.K. parliament's Home Affairs Committee in advance of its hearing where Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger has been compelled to testify about national security implications of its reporting on leaks from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

First Unitarian Church of Los Angeles v. National Security Agency

November 18, 2013

The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press and 13 other news organizations filed an amicus brief in the Northern District of California in support of the Electronic Frontier Foundation's challenge to the NSA's phone data collection program. The brief argues that mass call tracking compromises confidential reporter-source relationships to the detriment of the public interest.

Media coalition urges better protection of First Amendment rights in NSA, FISA court matters

Press Release | October 11, 2013
October 11, 2013

The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, joined by 36 other news media organizations, filed public comments calling on the president’s Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technologies to more carefully balance the secrecy sometimes required in national security investigations with the public’s right to know what its government is doing.