22 January 2010

The EFF is wrong (and they know it)

San Francisco - A federal judge has dismissed Jewel v. NSA, a case from the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) on behalf of AT&T customers challenging the National Security Agency's mass surveillance of millions of ordinary Americans' phone calls and emails.
I'm seeing this article get posted all over today, but it is becoming more clear with every case that the EFF is becoming expert at spinning legal opinions into a populist rant, at the expense of the accuracy of their analysis.
In the ruling, issued late Thursday, U.S. District Court Chief Judge Vaughn Walker held that the privacy harm to millions of Americans from the illegal spying dragnet was not a "particularized injury" but instead a "generalized grievance" because almost everyone in the United States has a phone and Internet service.
Yes, EFF, you have to show an actual injury. "We might have possibly been the victim of surveillance" is just not good enough. Rather than admit the weakness of their injury claim, they spin their reaction to suit their agenda. Reading the actual decision finds that:
"[I]njuries that are shared and generalized —— such as the right to have the government act in accordance with the law —— are not sufficient to support standing.” Seegers v Gonzales, 396 F3d 1248, 1253 (DC Cir 2005).
I'm quite sure that the EFF knows this--as any lawyer would--so why don't they admit it? Well, frankly, they have an agenda to push, and admitting the weakness of their case wouldn't fit within that agenda. They can appeal all they want, but unless they show more than a generalized grievance they're going to lose again, and (short of finding an activist appeals court) they know it.
Post a Comment