On August 8, 2015, six U.S. citizens who had their email, text message, and telephone call metadata collected by the government during the 2002 Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City, UT, filed suit against the National Security Agency ("NSA") and the Federal Bureau of Investigation ("FBI"). ...
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On August 8, 2015, six U.S. citizens who had their email, text message, and telephone call metadata collected by the government during the 2002 Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City, UT, filed suit against the National Security Agency ("NSA") and the Federal Bureau of Investigation ("FBI"). Plaintiffs challenged the legality of the domestic surveillance program and sought declaratory, and injunctive relief, as well as statutory, actual, and punitive damages. The plaintiffs brought suit in the U.S. District Court for Utah under the Administrative Procedure Act ("APA"), the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act ("FISA"), the Wiretap Act, the Stored Communications , the Privacy Act, and violations of the 4th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution as well as violations of Article I, § 14 of the Utah Constitution. Plaintiffs were represented by Ross "Rocky" Anderson.
In October of 2001, then President George W. Bush authorized the NSA, in conjunction with the FBI, to intercept the international phone calls and international emails of people within the United States without a warrant. The operation, known as "the President's Surveillance Program," collected email, text message, and telephone call metadata, which was stored in a "security compartment" code-named "STELLARWIND."
Before and during the 2002 Winter Olympic Games, this surveillance was expanded in and around Salt Lake City and other Olympic venues. This expansion covered the metadata on every phone call made to and from individuals within the Salt Lake City area, as well as the content of every text message and email to and from those individuals. Plaintiff's were all living and working within the Salt Lack City area during this period, and frequently used the targeted communications methods.
Plaintiff's claim this program of warrant-less surveillance was a violation of their rights under the First and Fourth Amendments, Article I, § 14 of the Utah Constitution, and several other Federal laws that govern government surveillance of individuals within the United States.
The government moved to dismiss the suit on December 18, 2015. The defendants claimed there was a lack of subject-matter jurisdiction. They claimed that the plaintiffs, (1) failed to plausibly allege their standing, (2) had not otherwise alleged the existence of a live case or controversy to support their claim for equitable relief, (3) failed to plausibly allege their standing in regard to similar surveillance they alleged was continuing, (4) they did not plausibly allege standing to seek monetary relief, and (5) their claims for monetary relief are barred by sovereign immunity. The plaintiffs filed a response to the motion to dismiss on February 18, 2016.
On July 14, 2016, the court held a hearing on the defendant's motion to dismiss. As of September 29, 2016 the District Court (Judge Robert J. Shelby) has yet to rule on the motion. Ian Williams - 09/29/2016