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Supreme Court Refuses To Hear EPIC Challenge To NSA Surveillance 227

Trailrunner7 writes "The challenge to the NSA's domestic surveillance program filed with the Supreme Court by the Electronic Privacy Information Center ended Monday, with the court refusing to consider the challenge at all. EPIC had filed the challenge directly with the Supreme Court rather than going through the lower courts. EPIC, a non-profit organization involved in privacy policy matters, had asked the court to vacate an order from a judge in the Foreign Surveillance Intelligence Court that had enabled the NSA's collection of hundreds of millions of Verizon call records under the so-called metadata collection program. The challenge hinged on the idea that the FISC had gone outside of its authority in granting the order."
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Supreme Court Refuses To Hear EPIC Challenge To NSA Surveillance

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  • Re:No surprise (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Daniel_Staal ( 609844 ) <> on Monday November 18, 2013 @03:46PM (#45456955)

    Also: Congress is working on this issue. The Supreme Court really doesn't like to step on the toes of the other two parts of the government if it doesn't have to. Looking at the activity on this issue, it's likely they won't have to.

  • by Shakrai ( 717556 ) * on Monday November 18, 2013 @05:01PM (#45457691) Journal

    Uh, I hate to be the one to point out the fucking obvious here, but a "passing familiarity" with the law would be called the Constitution, and more specifically, the Fourth Amendment within that protects every citizen from such bullshit.

    The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

    Which part of that Amendment specifically mentions the "bullshit" that we're talking about in this discussion?

    The framers of the Constitution knew that they could not encompass every conceivable possibility into the document, or into those amendments that were later added. That's why we have courts, who interpret the document, and decide as best they can how to apply it to the issue before them.

    So, you have the right to be secure in your "papers", and said right is protected by the 4th Amendment. The question you have to ask yourself is whether or not your papers include metadata stored on Verizon's system? That's a question for the courts, since it's obviously beyond the scope of the Constitution, and when that question has been asked in the past (the relevant precedent involves pen registers) the Courts have been fairly consistent in saying that you forfeited the expectation of privacy when you shared information with a third party, i.e., the phone company.

    Now, one may argue that precedent was decided incorrectly and should be reversed. What one can't do (well you can, it's just unproductive) is scream about the 4th Amendment without any in-depth discussion of how that Amendment is interpreted by the courts, how we apply it to modern times with technologies that were unheard of when it was written, and how the case law as evolved over the years as those technologies have been developed.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 18, 2013 @08:29PM (#45459437)

    Correct me if I am wrong but I don't believe that's how your Constitution actually works. It supposedly outlines what the government can do and anything it doesn't say they can do, they can't do. It seems like the confusion comes from having the itemized amendments, which I believe at least one of the founding fathers argued would lead to this common misunderstanding.

  • by artor3 ( 1344997 ) on Monday November 18, 2013 @09:31PM (#45459815)

    Okay, you're wrong.

    The government can do whatever it wants until told to stop by someone in a higher position of authority. The only "laws" constraining their actions are the laws of physics. Congress could pass a law tomorrow establishing Zoroastrianism as the state religion, and the Constitution (being just words on a page) wouldn't do shit to stop them. The law would have to be struck down by a court.

    Nothing is unconstitutional until a court rules it so.

    How else could it possibly work?

The moon may be smaller than Earth, but it's further away.