We are writing in support of an amendment that Representatives Massie and Lofgren intend to offer to H.R. 4870, the Department of Defense Appropriations Act, with the support of a bipartisan coalition of cosponsors. The recent and ongoing revelations about the intrusive nature and broad scope of government surveillance have badly damaged the trust users have in the security of their Internet communications. This amendment would help begin to restore that trust in two ways.
Brief for Amicus Curiae National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers in Support of Plaintiffs-Appellants.
Argument: The government's mass interception and scanning of Americans' Internet communications is a search and seizure, triggering the Fourth Amendment's warrant requirement. The "special needs" exception to the warrants requirement cannot justify the government's surveillance program. Foreign Intelligence is not the "primary purpose" of the NSA's dragnet surveillance program. The impact of the intrusion from the NSA's Internet surveillance outweighs the government's need. The privacy interests harmed by upstream surveillance outweigh the government's interest in the program. Indiscriminately seizing and searching communications will include attorney-client communications and therefore impact individuals' Sixth Amendment rights.