The non-profit organization Wikimedia Foundation is suing NSA (National Security Agency) and US Department of Justice over its mass surveillance program. The pro-bono organization is pairing up with 8 other organizations including Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International USA to question NSA’s spying of web users in the US and overseas.
Wikimedia claims that NSA is using tactics and devices to gather information from communication of its users and staff, as a result violating their privacy and “threatening the intellectual freedom that is central to people’s ability to create and understand knowledge.”
Wikemedia claims that it needs to sustain its privacy for Wikipedia editors before they publish stories and content before it shares it on the online encyclopedia. With NSA’s surveillance methods they are vulnerable and the readers and editors are hindered from participating in contributing to the content. In an op-ed with New York Times, Jimmy Wales, Wikipedia founder stated how such actions are harmful and he used 2011’s Arab Spring as an example:
“So imagine, now, a Wikipedia user in Egypt wants to edit a page about government opposition or discuss it with fellow editors. If that user knows the NSA is routinely combing through her contributions to Wikipedia, and possibly sharing information with her government, she will surely be less likely to add her knowledge or have that conversation, for fear of reprisal.”
In addition Wikipedia also stated that such measure violates US Constitution’s First Amendment, which protects freedom of speech and association, and the Fourth Amendment, which prohibits unreasonable search and seizure.
Previously, Amnesty International USA issued a supreme court against Director James Clapper in 2013, but obviously that did not happen as that it lacked standing. Although, this time the organization believes it has more proof to chase the case as the 2013 whistleblower Edward Snowden has provided enough evidence and reference to help with the current lawsuit.