Alex Abdo is a staff attorney in the American Civil Liberties Unions Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project. Currently, he is counsel in the ACLUs lawsuit challenging the NSAs phone-records program (ACLU v. Clapper). Abdo has been involved in the litigation of cases concerning the Patriot Act, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, and the treatment of detainees in Guantánamo Bay, Afghanistan, Iraq, and the Navy brig in South Carolina. He is a graduate of Yale University and Harvard Law School. Prior to working at the ACLU, he served as a law clerk to the Hon. Barbara M.G. Lynn, United States District Judge for the Northern District of Texas, and to the Hon. Rosemary Barkett, United States Circuit Judge for the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals.
More About Alex Abdo
The Second Circuit Court of Appeals in New York City heard oral argument in <em>ACLU v. Clapper</em>, which challenged the NSAs program of bulk data collection of telephone records.
The ACLU has filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the NSAs mass collection of Americans phone records. The complaint argues that the dragnet, justified by the Patriot Acts Section 215, violates the right of privacy protected by the Fourth Amendment as well as the First Amendment rights of free speech and association.
Indisputably, the NSAs surveillance is breathtaking in its scope and intrusiveness. It is also unlawful.
The phone-records program is perhaps the most sweeping surveillance operation ever directed against the American public by our government. It raises profound questions about the role of government in a democracy and about the future of privacy in the digital era. And it threatens our constitutional rights in ways unimaginable by the founders of our country.
Alex Abdo, counsel in the ACLU's challenge to the NSA's bulk collection of the nation's call records, delivers the keynote address to the ACLU of Pennsylvania's Annual Greater Philadelphia-area chapter meeting.
Does Smith justify the NSA's dragnet collection of every American's phone records (and perhaps every American's bank records, credit-card statements, and internet and email records)? The answer is "no." Here's why.
The real question, though, is whether such limitless surveillance is necessary, and, in particular, whether demanding the procedural protections that the Fourth Amendment has historically required would prevent the government from doing its job.
Unless the government has a very good reason to get two hops of our phone records and sweep up potentially tens of thousands of Americans, two hops are too many.