Wikimedia Foundation files lawsuit against NSA

The Wikimedia Foundation, the non-profit organization behind Wikipedia, is filing a lawsuit against the NSA. According to Wikimedia, the NSA violates the constitution, among other things, by untargeted tapping large amounts of internet data.

The foundation is filing a lawsuit against the NSA on Tuesday in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, a specialist court that deals with the American intelligence services. The Wikimedia Foundation is collaborating with eight other organizations that have formed the American Civil Liberties Union in filing the charges. The Ministry of Justice can also expect a charge from the alliance.

Lila Tretikov of the Wikimedia Foundation argues that the NSA is directly affecting democracy by tapping data on internet backbones. Moreover, the dragnet methods carried out by the NSA would be against the law, partly because the privacy of Wikipedia users worldwide would be violated on a large scale. The NSA’s methods were exposed by whistleblower Edward Snowden. According to Wikimedia’s lawyers, the NSA is violating, among other things, the First and Fourth Amendments to the US Constitution, which respectively guarantee freedom of expression and protect against unlawful searches and seizures.

Although a lawsuit in 2013 was dismissed on similar grounds because prosecutors could not prove that they were directly harmed by the NSA wiretapping, Wikimedia believes it has a better chance. In addition, the indictment relies, among other things, on a leaked NSA presentation about the Prism program in which Wikipedia is explicitly mentioned as a target.