Nine companies, including Apple, tied to PRISM, Obama to be smacked with class-action lawsuit

“Former Justice Department prosecutor Larry Klayman amended an existing lawsuit against Verizon and a slew of Obama administration officials Monday to make it the first class-action lawsuit in response to the publication of a secret court order instructing Verizon to hand over the phone records of millions of American customers on an ‘ongoing, daily basis,'” Steve Nelson reports for U.S. News and World Report. “Klayman told U.S. News he will file a second class-action lawsuit Wednesday in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia targeting government officials and each of the nine companies listed in a leaked National Security Agency slideshow as participants in the government’s PRISM program.”

“According to the slideshow, the PRISM program allows government agents direct, real-time access to the servers of nine major tech companies, including AOL, Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, PalTalk, Skype, Yahoo! and YouTube,” Nelson reports. “Klayman said he hopes the two lawsuits will be considered jointly as companion cases. The class-action lawsuit against Verizon says the defendants violated customers’ ‘reasonable expectation of privacy, free speech and association, right to be free of unreasonable searches and seizures and due process rights.'”

Nelson reports, “‘This case challenges the legality of Defendants’ participation and conduct in a secret and illegal government scheme to intercept and analyze vast quantities of domestic telephone communications,’ says the lawsuit against Verizon, which also names as defendants President Barack Obama, Attorney General Eric Holder, NSA director Keith Alexander and federal judge Roger Vinson, the FISA court judge who approved the leaked April order… Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., said during a Sunday appearance on Fox News that he intends to file a class-action lawsuit against Verizon and the Internet companies over the surveillance programs, but it’s unclear how exactly he will proceed with the plans.”

Read more in the full article here.

Related articles:
U.S. lawmakers urge review of ‘Prism’ domestic spying, Patriot Act – June 10, 2013
PRISM: Do Apple, Google, Facebook have an ethical obligation not to spy on users? – June 8, 2013
Plausible deniability: The strange and unbelievable similarities in the Apple, Google, and Facebook PRISM denials – June 7, 2013
Google’s Larry Page on government eavesdropping: ‘We had not heard of a program called PRISM until yesterday’ – June 7, 2013
Seecrypt app lets iPhone, Android users keep voice calls, text messages away from carriers, government eyes and ears – June 7, 2013
Obama administration defends PRISM data-collection as legal anti-terrorism tool – June 7, 2013
Facebook, Google, Yahoo join Apple in sort-of denying PRISM involvement – June 7, 2013
Report: Intelligence program gives U.S. government direct access to customer data on Apple servers; Apple denies – June 6, 2013

32 Comments

  1. Good. All these companies, and the Federal Government, are guilty of violating the 4th amendment restriction against undue search and seizure if they knowingly participated in giving personal information to the government. Unless we all want to be ruled by Big Brother, who can use political or whatever criteria it chooses, to mine our personal information for facts or possibilities that can be used to blackmail or intimidate. Clearly, this administration values vast information on everyone, despite the insincere protests by Obama when Bush was President. No matter what Party is in control, the 4th amendment applies. And no search warrant that targets all Americans for all their information is reasonable. Period. When will America stand up and resist the coming police state?

    1. There is no way violate fourth amendment any more blatantly than with PRISM and cellphone carriers spy programs (the fact that they say they do not listen to the calls itself — for now — does not help; it is spying anyway).

      In normal, sane circumstances, both programs would be found unconstitutional, as well as the underlying laws from Bush and Obama times.

      But lets see what happens.

      1. Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free. – Ronald Reagan

        1. Fact:

          The program began as part of the Bush administration’s post-9/11 programs of surveillance without warrants, and, it is now known, it has continued since 2006 with the blessing of a national security court, which has ruled in still-secret legal opinions that such bulk surveillance was authorized by a section of the Patriot Act that allows the F.B.I. to obtain “business records” if they are relevant to a counterterrorism investigation.

          1. BOTH parties are guilty of this unconstitutional, anti-democratic, and un-American monstrosity.

            Let’s encourage lawmakers from both parties to FIX IT RIGHT NOW.

    2. “When will America stand up and resist the coming police state?”
      Never.
      – The ultra-rich are just fine with how things are.
      – And most of the serfs are fine, as long as they’re given Jersey Shore, Honey Boo-Boo and the Kardashians.

      With most of the population suffering from Stockholm Syndrome, there is no chance of substantial and sudden change.

        1. Obama is at war with conservatives using the IRS as his police state brown shirt goon squad. But he is at peace with Muslims who want to kill us and he personally prevents prosecution of those who attack us. The “war” will be never ending, as The Big Brother Government if Obama must always fight any opposition, not at the ballot box which they rig, but with the full police powers using whatever tactics are needed, to hell with the Constitution.

          1. Oh, gimme a break!!! Yeh, the guy who carried on Bush’s stupid war in Iraq… and the very unproductive war in Afghanistan. The guy who got Bin Laden. The guy who’s in charge of the drone attacks. Soooo soft on terrorists.

            And if you want to talk about the ballot box — the Republicans lost the last one, in spite of massive gerrymandering of electoral boundaries and changing rules about voting to make it more difficult for poorer people to vote.

            And the IRS mess — illegal as their unbalanced checking is, it’s about improper use of charitable status — a very serious matter that is barely mentioned.

            If only we had Romney — none of this kind of stuff would be going on and we’d all live in a land of prosperity (and candy floss and unicorns).

  2. You know how your iPhone records the number, time of call, and call duration of all the calls coming to your phone? Are you violating the caller’s 4th Amendment rights if you collect that data?

    Now, There is room to disagree with the Smith v. Maryland (1979) in which SCOTUS ruled telephone records are not protected under the 4th, but saying ‘4th Amendment!’, ‘4th Amendment!’ over and over again isn’t an argument. So, don’t claim that these companies have participated in breaking the law when they haven’t. If you don’t like the law, work to change it, but do it with information, not emotion. People look like fools twisting themselves up in a tantrum.

    1. Yes, one could logically argue that the government getting those real-time records IS a violation of my 4th Amendment Rights. When I enter into an agreement with Verizon or Apple, there is an expectation that some data will be collected. It has to for billing purposes. But that agreement does not automatically assume that the information would be delivered to a government entity without my consent or approval.

      The type of data has no bearing on this, it is the act of collecting data–without the full knowledge of the citizen who has done nothing illegal or is suspected of doing anything illegal–that is in question. I see it as akin to the police walking into my house and looking around. Sure, they are not taking anything specific, they are just “looking” to make sure that I’m not doing anything illegal.

      1. My understanding of the ruling is that by placing a call, and therefore reaching out, there is little to no expectation of privacy. I wouldn’t necessarily equate data mining with police looking around inside your house because that is your property. However, the police can stand at the street all day and look at what is in plain view. I think that’s the distinction that was reached before. Just like when you get pulled over, the police cannot search your vehicle without your permission or a warrant, unless they observe something in plain view. The question becomes whether or not data you transmit over the phone lines/airwaves is therefore considered ‘in plain view’, or kept private. I think it should be revisited, but the answer is by no means obvious or easy.

    2. 4th Amendment does apply here (it will take some sorting out because it’s not as clean-cut as “phone records”).

      But even if you set the 4th Amendment aside, these programs violate the Patriot Act itself.

      They also violate other telecom. laws and privacy acts.

      Plus intelligence leaders have lied under oath in front of congress. And they’ve hidden the programs from legally-mandated oversight.

      And we have a supreme court ruling that says automated physical tracking of citizens (which the phone metadata facilitate) is an unconstitutional invasion of privacy, and requires a warrant.

  3. The CIA/NSA/FBI is now ‘ASciAsFib’NET (“a sky as fib”), the unstoppable, fully aware network that destroys the career of any Congressman who tries to kill it.

    Somewhere, back in time, will be a call, email, picture, video chat, receipt, GPS or conversation that will be used to quiet anyone who moves against it, via The Presinator, an indestructible media figure that uses vocal cadences to woo a small (minded) group of self-important ‘NewsRelayers’, who are entrusted by the busy, low-informed masses to tell them how to think positive thoughts as Nero rearranges the seats for a better view of Mt. Vesuvius…..

  4. Sharing any personal IRS and now the NSA information is a federal crime. Start putting some in jail and they can get time off if they turn in those that told them to do it. Sending them home with pay is a reward not a deterrent.

    Infestations and cancers don’t go away on their own until they finish killing off the host.

  5. American asscrying babies. What a bunch of bloated, sweat hog fat, stupid slugs, now belly aching about so-called spying on them. Another hit on a big building by the bad guys will send you whining asswipe assfat cattle stampeding into the arms of the nearest Air Force Colonel. Just a nation of bloated, obese Michael Moore slobs.

  6. ” The program began as part of the Bush administration’s post-9/11 programs of surveillance without warrants, and, it is now known, it has continued since 2006 with the blessing of a national security court, which has ruled in still-secret legal opinions that such bulk surveillance was authorized by a section of the Patriot Act that allows the F.B.I. to obtain “business records” if they are relevant to a counterterrorism investigation.”

    1. The law is likely unconstitutional, but no one has been able to challenge it in court (until these leaks, no one could prove they were harmed to gain standing).

      The administration’s and the intelligence agencies’ interpretations of the law most certainly are unconstitutional, but these interpretations have been kept secret.

      The secret FISA court has even ruled they have over-stepped, but the ruling is secret.

      This leak is the only thing that has provided an opportunity for real democratic oversight of these unlawful, unconstitutional, Orwellian, and un-American programs.

        1. This is not about parties. There’s outrage on both sides.

          This is about American lawmakers standing up for the people who put them there, and respecting the traditions and laws of the land.

  7. Nothing will change until we have American Spring where millions of people protest in the streets, not to mention break the yoke of the two party system under which we exist. If you keep voting for Republicans and Democrats this WILL NOT CHANGE. Personally, I think they are trying to do what’s best for us but we could certainly do with more open accountability.

  8. Damn stupid!
    Imaging the scandal if Obama would have killed the “patriot act” right away… Reps would have yield and scream for treason.
    A pity that Obama had to endorse Bush’s friends dictates. To easy to throw the stone to the guy who has to shovel the shit of the other!

  9. Where was this lawsuit when congress wrote and passed these bills and Bush signed them into law and gave the telecoms immunity from prosecution?

    Why isn’t there a lawsuit against the company and leaker for revealing US secrets?

    Why isn’t there a lawsuit against former and current members of congress, that wrote, passed and renewed these laws, but only against the Obama administration?

    Doesn’t it worry anyone that so many private contractor companies have access to US secrets?

    Where was the news media, you know the ones that are so outraged now but didn’t investigate it before?

    Does the news media believe they should be the gate keeper of US secrets or at the very least a 50/50 partner with the US gov. in keeping US secrets?

    Does the news media expect to be the gate keeper of US secrets yet still retain their source confidentiality?

    When events occur that cause bloodshed and it is traced back to these leaks and future leaks will the republicans, EFF and news media that only now have problems with these laws say, well that’s the cost of freedom and we’ll gladly pay it. But having the gov. scan electronic media for indicators/flags of suspicious activity/words or country of origin is too high a price to pay?

    Well at least they’ll sell more newspapers and sell more ads. That’s what some would call freedom; nothing more the politics in disguise. Then to those of you, may your children’s blood be the first shed so that you can show us your resolve in such times.

  10. Going after the companies who were strong-armed into accepting the “government” (patriotism schtick) and suing them seems rather wrong-headed, don’t you think?

    Who is next, our ISPs, who also have been strong-armed into giving information to the “intelligence”communities? Our “friends” who shared our social networking info with others?

    How about if we just hold the government(s) to Constitutional standards and get rid of all the 3-letter agencies that function under the POTUS? They are supposed to be protecting the citizens from all enemies, foreign and domestic, not be the ones attacking the citizens.

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