The American Civil Liberties Union wants the federal government to unveil a trove of secret, sealed court records that contain crucial information about National Security Agency surveillance programs.
In a newly public motion, the civil-rights stalwart asks the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to release records, “opinions and orders containing novel or significant interpretations of the law,” issued between Sept. 11, 2001 and June 2015.
The ACLU alleges that the shrouded rulings “appear to address a range of novel surveillance activities,” including those that have already come up for debate before, such as with the government’s use PRISM and Upstream data-collection operations.
PRISM can operate as a storage hub for real-time communication between companies like Google or Facebook to targeted accounts. Upstream, which serves as the agency’s digital search and seizure tool, allows the government to capture the internet communications of U.S. citizens and other residents as the data travels through the internet’s infrastructure.
In the 39-page document, dated Oct. 19, the civil-rights group argues that the public has a right to inspect the sealed records.