Amicus brief argues NSA surveillance violates freedom of the press

The Reporter’s Committee for the Freedom of the Press filed an amicus brief in ACLU v. Clapper arguing that government collection of call records violates the First Amendment freedom of the press by impeding reporters’ ability to maintain confidential sources.

The brief supports the ACLU’s motion for a preliminary injunction to stop the NSA from collecting logs of the time and duration of phone calls made within the United States. The ACLU’s complaint includes a First Amendment claim based on the freedom of association — the right to organize and express political ideas as a group — but RCFP’s brief focuses on the right of the press to gather news.

The brief argues that mass surveillance makes sources more wary of contacting journalists and emphasizes that confidential sources are critical to accurate reporting on important issues.

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