The entity behind Wikipedia, the Wikimedia Foundations partnered with the ACLU and the Knight Institute to try to get the US Supreme Court to force Congress to curtail the current NSA internet surveillance.
The decision leaves the US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit with a divided opinion, which threw out Wikimedia’s challenge accepting the government’s “state secrets privilege” argument.
The notorious agency’s legal basis for such surveillance are based on FISA (Foreign Surveillance Act) which grew into quite a “monster” since it was first passed in 1978, and in particular after 9/11 – and, specifically with Section 702, introduced in 2008.
Section 702 is up for renewal later this year and this is what the petition sought to prevent. The contested legislation proved to be the foundation of much of the mass surveillance wrongdoings revealed by Edward Snowden in 2013.
Wikimedia and others unsuccessfully attempted to ensure that the NSA “upstream” surveillance program (the harmful nature of which is said to be backed up by a number of disclosures coming from government sources) would be “reviewed” rather than simply renewed this time. It allows the spy agency to search internet traffic to and from the US, and that means emails, messages and other communication belonging to Americans.
This means that both those on US soil and targeted individuals abroad are spied on.