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Idaho resident’s challenge to NSA surveillance now before 9th Circuit

Idaho resident’s challenge to NSA surveillance now before 9th Circuit

Geoffrey Talmon
September 5, 2014
September 5, 2014

Idaho resident Anna Smith was shocked to learn that the National Security Agency (NSA) was indiscriminately spying on her and millions of other Americans by collecting records of all of their telephone calls.

Represented by her husband, Peter J. Smith IV, and state Rep. Luke Malek, R-Coeur d’Alene, Smith filed a federal lawsuit alleging violations of her First and Fourth amendment rights.

Unfortunately, Smith’s suit was dismissed by the United States District Court for the District of Idaho. In dismissing the case, however, U.S. District Judge Lynn Winmill indicated that although he was bound by Supreme Court precedent to dismiss the case, he also had serious concerns about the privacy implications of the NSA’s activities.

Now, with the ACLU, the ACLU of Idaho and the Electronic Frontier Foundation at her side, Ms. Smith is appealing the case to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, and the case has been expedited, with opening briefs due this week.

Unlike the standard elements of a search warrant, which requires probable cause and a description of the place to be searched and the thing being sought, leaked NSA documents indicate that the goal of the NSA is to monitor everything, everywhere.

Whether in the 9th Circuit or the Supreme Court, I hope that a court is willing to step up and say that enough is enough, and that the Fourth Amendment’s protections against “unreasonable searches and seizures” still apply even in today’s digital age.

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