May 19, 2022

“EFF Asks Court on Behalf of Libraries and Booksellers to Recognize Readers’ Right to Be Free of NSA’s Online Surveillance”

From the Electronic Frontier Foundation:

It should be no surprise that libraries and bookstores—the places where you can go pick up a copy of 1984 or Darkness at Noon—are privacy hipsters. They’ve been fighting overbroad government surveillance since before it was cool.

That’s why we’re proud to have filed an amicus brief on behalf of a coalition of associations of libraries and booksellers in Wikimedia v. NSA, a case challenging the government’s warrantless surveillance of the Internet backbone.

The case was brought by our colleagues at the ACLU on behalf of Wikimedia—the non-profit that operates Wikipedia—and a broad spectrum of other media, human rights and legal organizations. The case challenges the NSA’s so-called Upstream surveillance, a publicly admitted program that involves copying Internet traffic—including e-mails, chat, web browsing and other communications—as the data traverses the fiber optic backbone of the Internet. Now the government has brought a motion to dismiss the case, arguing that Wikimedia and the other plaintiffs cannot show that their communications are collected. According to the government, Wikimedia can’t assert its own rights or the rights of its users and therefore lacks standing to sue.

That’s where libraries and bookstores come in. EFF’s amicus brief represents of a range of these groups: the American Booksellers Association, the American Library Association, the Association of Research Libraries, the Freedom to Read Foundation, and the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions.

Read the Blog Post

Read the Complete Brief (22 pages; PDF)

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.