The plantiffs claim that the programme violates the First Amendment rights of free speech
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the New York Civil Liberties Union have filed a lawsuit challenging constitutionality of National Security Agency’s phone spying programme.
The lawsuit, filed in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York, argues that the programme violates the First Amendment rights of free speech and association as well as the right of privacy protected by the Fourth Amendment.
The plaintiffs also claim that the programme exceeds the authority that Congress provided through the Patriot Act.
ACLU deputy legal director Jameel Jaffer said this dragnet programme is surely one of the largest surveillance efforts ever launched by a democratic government against its own citizens.
"It is the equivalent of requiring every American to file a daily report with the government of every location they visited, every person they talked to on the phone, the time of each call, and the length of every conversation," Jaffer said.
"The programme goes far beyond even the permissive limits set by the Patriot Act and represents a gross infringement of the freedom of association and the right to privacy."
James Clapper, director of national intelligence and some members of the FBI, the NSA, the Pentagon and the Department of Justice were named in the lawsuit.
The ACLU said it is a customer of Verizon Business Network Services, which was the recipient of a secret FISA Court order published by the Guardian last week.