Today, the Wikimedia Foundation, which operates online encyclopedia Wikipedia, will file a lawsuit against the National Security Agency (NSA) and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), alleging that the NSA has violated the first and fourth amendments of the U.S. Constitution.
The Wikimedia Foundation states that the violation of these amendments stems from the government’s practice of “upstream surveillance,” where the government monitors Internet traffic to gain foreign intelligence from non-U.S. users. Wikimedia believes this surveillance practice violates free speech and association as well as protections from unreasonable search and seizure, which includes internet communications.
“We’re filing suit today on behalf of our readers and editors everywhere,” said Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales on a Wikimedia blog posting. “Surveillance erodes the original promise of the internet: an open space for collaboration and experimentation, and a place free from fear.”
The posting on Wikimedia’s blog also cites the 2013 mass surveillance disclosures as grounds for the lawsuit. According to Wikimedia, the surveillance disclosures included a slide from a classified NSA presentation that used the Wikipedia global trademark, confirming that the government is targeting Wikipedia and its users.
The Wikimedia Foundation joins eight other organizations suing the NSA, including Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International USA and The Nation. The organizations will be collectively represented by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).