ACLU/NSA Complaint

ACLU, et al., v. James Clapper, Director of National Intelligence, et al.
13CV3994 Southern District of New York,(June 11, 2013)


This lawsuit challenges the government’s dragnet acquisition of Plaintiffs’telephone records under Section 215 of the Patriot Act, 50 U.S.C. § 1861.
In response to information published by the media, the government has acknowledged that it is relying on Section 215 to collect “metadata” about every phone call made or received by residents of the United States. The practice is akin to snatching every American’s address book—with annotations detailing whom we spoke to, when we talked, for how long, and from where. It gives the government a comprehensive record of our associations and public movements, revealing a wealth of detail about our familial, political, professional, religious, and intimate associations.2.

2. The government has confirmed the authenticity of an order issued six weeks ago by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (“FISC”) requiring Verizon Business Network Services Inc. (“VBNS”) to turn over, every day, metadata about the calls made by each of its subscribers over the three-month period ending on July 19, 2013. Government officials have indicated that the VBNS order is part of a program that has been in place for seven years and that collects records of all telephone communications of every customer of a major phone company,including Verizon, AT&T, and Sprint.


Plaintiffs the American Civil Liberties Union and the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation are current VBNS subscribers whose communications have already been monitored by the government under the VBNS order and whose communications continue to be monitored under that order now. Plaintiffs the New York Civil Liberties Union and the New York Civil Liberties Union Foundation are former customers of VBNS whose contract of service recently expired but whose telephony metadata likely remain in government databasess.

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. This surveillance is not authorized by Section 215 and violates the First and Fourth Amendments. Plaintiffs bring this suit to obtain a declaration that the Mass Call Tracking is unlawful; to enjoin the government from continuing the Mass Call Tracking under the VBNS order or any successor thereto; and to require the government to purge from its databases all of the call records related to Plaintiffs’ communications collected pursuant to the Mass Call Tracking.


This case arises under the Constitution and the laws of the United States and presents a federal question within this Court’s jurisdiction under Article III of the Constitution and 28 U.S.C. § 1331. The Court also has jurisdiction under the Administrative Procedure Act, 5U.S.C. § 702. The Court has authority to grant declaratory relief pursuant to the DeclaratoryJudgment Act, 28 U.S.C. §§ 2201–2202. The Court has authority to award costs and attorneys’fees under 28 U.S.C. § 2412.5.

Venue is proper in this district under 28 U.S.C. § 1391(b)(2), (c)(2).
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Paralegal, Human Rights Activist, Newswriter, Award Winner, Support for Disabled People from Helen Marshall, Borough Pres. Queens, NY
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