Resource: Wikimedia v. NSA - Challenge to Upstream Surveillance under the FISA Amendments Act

By: American Civil Liberties Union

September 6, 2018

In March 2015, the ACLU filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the NSA’s mass interception and searching of Americans’ international Internet communications. At issue is the NSA’s “Upstream” surveillance, through which the U.S. government monitors almost all international – and many domestic – text-based communications. The ACLU’s lawsuit was brought on behalf of nearly a dozen educational, legal, human rights, and media organizations that collectively engage in trillions of sensitive Internet communications and have been harmed by Upstream surveillance. The district court dismissed the case in October 2015, concluding that the plaintiffs lacked “standing” to sue because they had not sufficiently alleged that their communications had been intercepted. We appealed to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, which in May 2017 unanimously reversed a part of the lower court’s dismissal, ruling that Wikimedia has standing to pursue its challenge.