- SAN FRANCISCO -- The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) on Wednesday filed
the legal briefs and evidence supporting its motion for a preliminary injunction
in its class-action lawsuit against AT&T. After asking EFF to hold
back the documents so that it could review them, the Department of Justice
consented to EFF's filing them under seal - a well-established procedure
that prohibits public access and permits only the judge and the litigants
to see the evidence. While not a party to the case, the government was
concerned that even this procedure would not provide sufficient security
and has represented to the Court that it is "presently considering
whether and, if so, how it will participate in this case."
- "The evidence that we are filing
supports our claim that AT&T is diverting Internet traffic into the
hands of the NSA wholesale, in violation of federal wiretapping laws and
the Fourth Amendment," said EFF Staff Attorney Kevin Bankston. "More
than just threatening individuals' privacy, AT&T's apparent choice
to give the government secret, direct access to millions of ordinary Americans'
Internet communications is a threat to the Constitution itself. We are
asking the Court to put a stop to it now."
- EFF's evidence regarding AT&T's dragnet
surveillance of its networks includes a declaration by Mark Klein, a retired
AT&T telecommunications technician, and several internal AT&T documents.
This evidence was bolstered and explained by the expert opinion of J. Scott
Marcus, who served as Senior Technical Advisor for Internet Technology
to the Federal Communications Commission from July 2001 until July 2005.
- The internal AT&T documents and portions
of the supporting declarations have been submitted to the Court under a
tentative seal, a procedure that allows AT&T five court days to explain
to the Court why the information should be kept from the public.
- "The public deserves to know about
AT&T's illegal program," said EFF Legal Director Cindy Cohn. "In
an abundance of caution, we are providing AT&T with an opportunity
to explain itself before this material goes on the public docket, but we
believe that justice will ultimately require full disclosure."
- The NSA program came to light in December,
when the New York Times reported that the President had authorized the
agency to intercept telephone and Internet communications inside the United
States without the authorization of any court. Over the ensuing weeks,
it became clear that the NSA program has been intercepting and analyzing
millions of Americans' communications, with the help of the country's largest
phone and Internet companies, including AT&T.
- "Mark Klein is a true American hero,"
said EFF Staff Attorney Kurt Opsahl. "He has bravely come forward
with information critical for proving AT&T's involvement with the government's
invasive surveillance program."
- In the lawsuit, EFF is representing the
class of all AT&T residential customers nationwide. Working with EFF
in the lawsuit are the law firms Traber & Voorhees, Lerach Coughlin
Stoia Geller Rudman & Robbins LLP and the Law Office of Richard R.