This just in

On Yale & Yale alumni.
Ico print Print | Ico email Email | Facebook | | RSS

Yale Law School challenges
NSA order on Verizon records

Yale law students and faculty have joined the fray over National Security Agency collection of Verizon customers' phone call data.

The Law School's Media Freedom and Access Clinic, together with the American Civil Liberties Union, filed a motion Monday seeking the release of secret opinions by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC), which oversees US government surveillance. 

The motion asks for opinions that would shed light on why the FISC considers it legal, under the Patriort Act, to order Verizon to turn over months of customer data, according to a Yale Law School press release. The Guardian last week broke the news of that FISC order and other US government surveillance, using documents leaked by a low-level national security contractor.

“Releasing certain key FISC opinions will help inform a necessary public conversation about surveillance, privacy, and the scope of the Patriot Act—a discussion that has been much inhibited by the government's secret management of this program,” says Yale Law student Max Mishkin ’14JD, a member of the media clinic, in the press release.

The leaked FISC order cited Section 215 of the Patriot Act as justification. The motion by the ACLU and the clinic asks the court to publish its opinions on "the meaning, scope, and constitutionality" of Section 215.

Clinic director David Schulz ’76MA, ’78JD, calls the release of those opinions part of “the thin line that separates democracy from tyranny.”

“A democracy cannot function if the basic rules and procedures that govern the surveillance and prevent abuse are not disclosed," says Schulz, who is a visiting lecturer at the Law School. "A secret court that issues secret orders deciding secret motions based on secret legal principles threatens the fundamental principles on which this nation was built.”

Filed under Law School, privacy, national security, Max Mishkin, David Schulz
The comment period has expired.