NASA v. Nelson

EFF urged the United States Supreme Court to uphold an appeals court decision that blocks invasive and unnecessary background checks at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) arguing that the over-collection of personal data puts employees' privacy at risk.

The case was originally filed by federal contract employees working at CalTech's Jet Propulsion Lab which houses NASA's robotic spacecraft laboratory. The workers were low-risk by NASA's own admission and did not work on classified projects. Yet the government instituted sweeping background checks including a requirement to list three references who were then questioned about the employees' general behavior. NASA said it needed the information to assess "suitability" for government employment and would check factors like "carnal knowledge " "homosexuality " "cohabitation " and "illegitimate children."

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