The ACLU has (quickly!) filed a lawsuit challenging the first (Section 215 order) program that the Guardian revealed.
The lawsuit is on both constitutional
The American Civil Liberties Union and the New York Civil Liberties Union today filed a constitutional challenge to a surveillance program under which the National Security Agency vacuums up information about every phone call placed within, from, or to the United States. The lawsuit argues that the program violates the First Amendment rights of free speech and association as well as the right of privacy protected by the Fourth Amendment.
37. The Mass Call Tracking violates the First Amendment to the Constitution.and legal grounds
38. The Mass Call Tracking violates the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution.
The complaint also charges that the dragnet program exceeds the authority that Congress provided through the Patriot Act.
36. The Mass Call Tracking exceeds the authority granted by 50 U.S.C. § 1861, and thereby violates 5 U.S.C. § 706.
The ACLU itself is a Verizon Business customer. Their own call records are subject to the Verizon order that the Guardian revealed. It's an interesting twist in the case.
The government’s surveillance of their communications (hereinafter “Mass Call Tracking”) allows the government to learn sensitive and privileged information about their work and clients, and it is likely to have a chilling effect on whistleblowers and others who would otherwise contact Plaintiffs for legal assistance.
For example, Plaintiffs frequently place or receive phone calls from individuals relating to potential legal representation in suits against the federal government or state governments. Often, the mere fact that Plaintiffs have communicated with these individuals is sensitive or privileged.The challenge stresses the fact that the program has been officially acknowledged.
31. In the few days since The Guardian disclosed the VBNS order, government officials have revealed more about the government’s surveillance under Section 215. On June 6, Defendant Clapper officially acknowledged the authenticity of the VBNS order and disclosed details about the broader program supported by the FISC’s orders issued under Section 215. Among other things, he stated that: “[t]he judicial order that was disclosed in the press is used to support a sensitive intelligence collection operation”; “[t]he only type of information acquired under the Court’s order is telephony metadata, such as telephone numbers dialed and length of calls”; and “[t]he [FISC] reviews the program approximately every 90 days.”
32. The following day, President Barack Obama also commented publicly on the Section 215 order. Like Defendant Clapper, the President acknowledged that the intelligence community is tracking phone numbers and the durations of calls.