San Francisco- Media Alliance joined 18 other not for profit membership associations, including the CalGuns Foundation, Greenpeace, People for the American Way, the Council on islamic-American Relations and many others, as plaintiffs in a lawsuit filed by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) against the National Security Administration (NSA) , the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Department of Justice (DOJ). Named defendants included Attorney General Eric Holder, NSA Director Keith Alexander and National Intelligence Director James Clapper.
The lawsuit focuses on the broad telephone metadata collection program reported in the Washington Post and UK Guardian in June of 2013. The lawsuit cites the freedom of association clause in the 1st Amendment to the Constitution and NAACP vs Alabama (1958), a case which denied government unfettered access to the membership lists of the civil rights organization. The lawsuit alleges a chilling effect on the freedom of individuals to associate.
Media Alliance executive director Tracy Rosenberg comments: “The reason for this lawsuit has been expressed by the Supreme Court in NAACP vs Alabama. This type of collection may induce members to withdraw from the association and dissuade others from joining it because of fear of exposure of their beliefs shown through their associations and of the consequences of their exposure. This is as true in 2013 as it was in 1958”.
The full list of plaintiffs is:
First Unitarian Church of Los Angeles
Bill of Rights Defense Committe
California Association of Federal Firearms Licensees
Council on American Islamic Relations – California, Ohio, and Foundation
Free Software Foundation
Human Rights Watch
National Organization for the Rationalization of Marijuana Laws, California
Open Technology Institute
People for the American Way
Students for a Sensible Drug Policy
Unitarian Universalist Service Commitee