On February 26, in a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court ruled that human rights organizations, including WOLA, attorneys, and journalists could not challenge the practice of warrantless dragnet surveillance of Americans’ international emails and phone calls allowed under the FISA Amendments Act. The ruling is a stinging blow to international organizations like WOLA, whose work entails sensitive communications with people outside of the U.S. The ruling deems that the plaintiffs could not prove that they were “damaged” by surveillance. The catch-22 is that the evidence required to prove damage is classified.
WOLA works regularly to encourage other countries to respect civil liberties, and is greatly disappointed by the Court’s decision, which limits the ability to challenge civil liberty violations in the U.S. and compromises our ability to communicate securely and effectively with partners throughout Latin America.
Please click here to read the ACLU’s press release regarding the ruling.
Please click here to read coverage of the ruling in the New York Times.