Compliance Management, Network Security, Privacy

In historic decision, FISA court allows NSA surveillance transparency lawsuit to continue

In a historic en banc decision, the U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court ruled last week that there is sufficient standing to proceed with a lawsuit that could require the court to publicly disclose the secret justifications behind the NSA's electronic surveillance program that was exposed by Edward Snowden.

Never before have all 11 FISC judges collectively heard a case in an en banc review. The 6-5 ruling reverses a previous FISA court decision by FISC Judge Rosemary Collyer, who had ruled that the ACLU and Yale Law School's Media Freedom and Information Access Clinic lacked the necessary standing to pursue their case in court.

According to the majority opinion, Collyer's original ruling prematurely hinged on the merits of the movants' case, rather than their standing. "As that is not what concerns us today, we hold that Movants have sufficiently alleged the invasion of a legally cognizable interest as necessary to establish an injury-in-fact," states the opinion, written by Judge James Boasberg. As to whether the not the movants' case has enough merit to entitle them to relief, that must still be determined.

Bradley Barth

As director of multimedia content strategy at CyberRisk Alliance, Bradley Barth develops content for online conferences, webcasts, podcasts video/multimedia projects — often serving as moderator or host. For nearly six years, he wrote and reported for SC Media as deputy editor and, before that, senior reporter. He was previously a program executive with the tech-focused PR firm Voxus. Past journalistic experience includes stints as business editor at Executive Technology, a staff writer at New York Sportscene and a freelance journalist covering travel and entertainment. In his spare time, Bradley also writes screenplays.

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