September 26, 2007 | By Kurt Opsahl

Parts of FISA Held Unconstitutional

Today, Judge Ann Aiken of the Oregon Federal District Court ruled that two provisions of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), "50 U.S.C. ?? 1804 and 1823, as amended by the Patriot Act, are unconstitutional because they violate the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution."

This case arose over warrantless surveillance of an innocent Oregon attorney who was falsely suspected of involvement with the Madrid train bombing based on a mistaken fingerprint identification. The critical legal issue was that in the Patriot Act, Congress amended FISA to change the language from requiring "the purpose" of the search or surveillance be to obtain foreign intelligence information to only "a significant purpose" of the search or surveillance. As EFF has previously explained in a case before the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review, a "long line of court of appeals decisions, before and after FISA, has held that surveillance may be conducted without a traditional warrant and probable cause only when foreign intelligence collection is the "primary purpose" of the surveillance," not merely a "significant purpose."


Deeplinks Topics

Stay in Touch

NSA Spying

EFF is leading the fight against the NSA's illegal mass surveillance program. Learn more about what the program is, how it works, and what you can do.

Follow EFF

Laura Poitras and her EFF lawyers stand with previously classified surveillance docs now on display at the Whitney

Feb 5 @ 11:55am

Activists say Twitter is 'leaving them in the dark' over state-sponsored attack claims: http://www.theguardian.com/te...

Feb 5 @ 10:46am

How U.S. copyright law is being used to take down Rafael Correa's critics in Ecuador https://eff.org/r.8kod

Feb 5 @ 7:15am
JavaScript license information