The Electronic Frontier Foundation sustained a notable blow in one of its oldest ongoing surveillance-related lawsuits—its motion for partial summary judgment was denied on Tuesday, while a counter motion filed by the National Security Agency was granted.
The case, known as Jewel v. NSA, was originally brought by the EFF on behalf of Carolyn Jewel, a romance novelist who lives in Petaluma, California, north of San Francisco. For years, the case stalled in the court system, but it gained new life after the Edward Snowden disclosures in 2013.
Despite the NSA’s victory in its partial summary judgment, there are a number of issues left to be adjudicated in Jewel.
“The judge’s ruling only concerned Upstream Internet surveillance, not the telephone records collection nor other mass surveillance that are also at issue in Jewel,” Kurt Opsahl, an EFF attorney, told Ars, referring to the government’s program to capture data directly off of fiber optic cables.
“We will continue to fight to end NSA mass surveillance,” he added.
US District Judge Jeffrey White, in his 10-page order, found that the lead plaintiff lacked standing—e.g., she was unable to show that she specifically was surveilled. Beyond the question of standing, the court found it was not able to evaluate her claims without violating national security.