Wednesday, April 8, 2015

USA Today reports billions of phone logs were recorded PRIOR to 9/11

See - New Lawsuit says DEA phone surveillance was illegal. 

The Justice Department violated the Constitution by secretly gathering logs of billions of calls from the United States to as many as 116 countries, Human Rights Watch alleged in a lawsuit filed against the government on Wednesday.

The lawsuit, filed in federal court in Los Angeles, asks a judge to declare that the now-halted surveillance operation was illegal and to permanently block the government from restarting it.

"It's time to end the program, and bulk surveillance, once and for all," Nate Cardozo, an attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which is representing the group, wrote in a blog post.

The Justice Department acknowledged in January that the Drug Enforcement Administration had been secretly gathering logs of Americans' international phone calls. USA TODAY reported on Tuesday that the program began nearly a decade before the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and provided a blueprint for the far broader National Security Agency surveillance program that followed. It included virtually all calls from the United States to Mexico, Canada and most of the countries in South and Central America.

The suit is the latest legal challenge to government data-gathering that EFF and other privacy advocates argue are unconstitutional. The group is also pressing a lawsuit challenging the NSA's surveillance program, which includes records of Americans' domestic phone calls.

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