The Wikimedia Foundation, the non-profit agency that runs Wikipedia, has decided to sue the National Security Agency and the US Justice Department over a massive government surveillance programme.
Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales announced the lawsuit in an editorial he wrote in the New York Times on Tuesday.
“Today, we’re filing a lawsuit against the National Security Agency to protect the rights of the 500 million people who use Wikipedia every month,” Mr Wales wrote. “We’re doing so because a fundamental pillar of democracy is at stake: the free exchange of knowledge and ideas.”
Wikimedia is claiming that the NSA’s so-called upstream surveillance is a violation of the Second Amendment and Fourth Amendment to the US Constitution. Upstream surveillance refers to the practice of tapping into cables that are part of the internet’s infrastructure.
Such surveillance has been the target of previous lawsuits, like on-going case of Jewel v. NSA. Other cases have found it difficult to make charges stick and have had trouble proving the surveillance programs were specifically targeting them.
But Wikimedia has documents disclosed by Edward Snowden, a former NSA contractor turned whistle-blower, that show Wikipedia was a target of NSA surveillance, according to the editorial.
“The harm to Wikimedia and the hundreds of millions of people who visit our websites is clear: Pervasive surveillance has a chilling effect,” Mr Wales wrote. “It stifles freedom of expression and the free exchange of knowledge that Wikimedia was designed to enable.”
So far, the NSA and Justice Department have not commented on the lawsuit.
Follow @PaytonGuion on Twitter.Reuse content