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EFF and Jewel v. NSA Warrantless Wiretapping Case

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  • EFF and Jewel v. NSA Warrantless Wiretapping Case

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    San Francisco - A federal judge has dismissed Jewel v. NSA, a case from the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) on behalf of AT&T customers challenging the National Security Agency's mass surveillance of millions of ordinary Americans' phone calls and emails.
    I'm seeing this article get posted all over today, but it is becoming more clear with every case that the EFF is becoming expert at spinning legal opinions into a populist rant, at the expense of the accuracy of their analysis.
    In the ruling, issued late Thursday, U.S. District Court Chief Judge Vaughn Walker held that the privacy harm to millions of Americans from the illegal spying dragnet was not a "particularized injury" but instead a "generalized grievance" because almost everyone in the United States has a phone and Internet service.
    Yes, EFF, you have to show an actual injury. "We might have possibly been the victim of surveillance" is just not good enough. Rather than admit the weakness of their injury claim, they spin their reaction to suit their agenda. Reading the actual decision finds that:
    “[I]njuries that are shared and generalized —— such as the right to have the government act in accordance with the law —— are not sufficient to support standing.” Seegers v Gonzales, 396 F3d 1248, 1253 (DC Cir 2005).
    I'm quite sure that the EFF knows this--as any lawyer would--so why don't they admit it? Well, frankly, they have an agenda to push, and admitting the weakness of their case wouldn't fit within that agenda. They can appeal all they want, but unless they show more than a generalized grievance they're going to lose again, and (short of finding an activist appeals court) they know it.
    Last edited by theprez98; January 22, 2010, 15:10.
    "\x74\x68\x65\x70\x72\x65\x7a\x39\x38";

  • #2
    Re: EFF and Jewel v. NSA Warrantless Wiretapping Case

    It's pretty clear, that the fact that the suit sounded good becomes more important than the merits of what they were seeking. This was a PR win-win for them. If they'd found a judge who didn't understand injury, then they would have won. Lose, and they can play the martyr to the press, having selflessly thrown themselves against the rocks of an unforgiving system. Either way, they come across as the fearless defenders of truth, justice and the downtrodden peoples who where spied upon by the evil empire.

    Just like the ACLU, the reason the EFF was founded is a very good idea, but it seems that the agenda has now become the reason they exist, and that's just too bad.
    Thorn
    "If you can't be a good example, then you'll just have to be a horrible warning." - Catherine Aird

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    • #3
      Re: EFF and Jewel v. NSA Warrantless Wiretapping Case

      Having spent a bunch of time at blackhat with the eff lawyers my opinions differ a bit but yeah, it's a charity so there is a subconcious bit of PR at work in anything they do.

      You have to admit though that challenging these things *before* they get huge or ingrained is very important to keeping things open and free
      Never drink anything larger than your head!





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      • #4
        Re: EFF and Jewel v. NSA Warrantless Wiretapping Case

        Originally posted by renderman View Post
        Having spent a bunch of time at blackhat with the eff lawyers my opinions differ a bit but yeah, it's a charity so there is a subconcious bit of PR at work in anything they do.
        I can't see there being anything subconscious about this one, for the simple reason that as lawyers they should know exactly what "injury" means in under a legal definition, and what they were alleging in this case didn't fit that definition.

        Originally posted by renderman View Post
        You have to admit though that challenging these things *before* they get huge or ingrained is very important to keeping things open and free
        Agreed, but they should be challenging them for the correct legal reasons, and not instigating suits that have no merits, and certainly not doing it for PR-purposes only. That isn't ethical, it violates the legal canons, and clogs the courts with frivolous suits. If EFF lawyers are going to take the higher moral ground on the suits they file, then they can't throw the ethics and canons out the window whenever they feel like it. To do so makes them as bad or worse as those who seek to violate our rights in the first place.
        Thorn
        "If you can't be a good example, then you'll just have to be a horrible warning." - Catherine Aird

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        • #5
          Re: EFF and Jewel v. NSA Warrantless Wiretapping Case

          Originally posted by Thorn View Post
          I can't see there being anything subconscious about this one, for the simple reason that as lawyers they should know exactly what "injury" means in under a legal definition, and what they were alleging in this case didn't fit that definition.

          Agreed, but they should be challenging them for the correct legal reasons, and not instigating suits that have no merits, and certainly not doing it for PR-purposes only. That isn't ethical, it violates the legal canons, and clogs the courts with frivolous suits. If EFF lawyers are going to take the higher moral ground on the suits they file, then they can't throw the ethics and canons out the window whenever they feel like it. To do so makes them as bad or worse as those who seek to violate our rights in the first place.
          In all the moral outrage over this decision, these are the points that people are missing, and exactly the ones I have been trying to make.

          Also of note, because of the lack of standing, the judge never ruled on the merits of the case.
          Last edited by theprez98; January 24, 2010, 07:45.
          "\x74\x68\x65\x70\x72\x65\x7a\x39\x38";

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