Rand Paul turns out to be not much of a fan of the NSA’s surveillance programs, which is both no surprise and the understatement of the week. He appeared on Fox News Sunday and pledged to take a challenge all the way to the Supreme Court to end PRISM and the other surveillance programs that appear to snoop on content staged on or passing through the servers of nine major Internet providers. All he needs, Paul says, is to get their customers to join him (via Eliana Johnson at The Corner):
“I’m going to be seeing if I can challenge this at the Supreme Court level,” vowed Paul on “Fox News Sunday.
“I’m going to be asking all the internet providers and all of the phone companies: Ask your customers to join me in a class action lawsuit. If we get 10 million Americans saying we don’t want our phone records looked at then maybe someone will wake up and something will change in Washington,” he said. …
Paul said he was concerned with the scope of the NSA’s surveillance.
“They are looking at a billion phone calls a day, is what I read in the press and that doesn’t sound to me like a modest invasion of primary, it sounds like an extraordinary invasion of privacy,” said Paul.
Paul said such snooping was “partly what our founding fathers fought the revolution over.”
First, that would require that the ISPs themselves oppose the NSA surveillance programs. The only one to refuse cooperation, so far as we know, is Twitter. If Google, Microsoft, Facebook, and others opposed this in any significant manner, they would simply stop cooperating and force the NSA to get court orders on specific targets.
That’s another curiosity, too. Both the NSA and the ISPs claim that they are only providing data demanded under court order. Wouldn’t Twitter be subject to that as well? If so, why are they somehow separated from Google et al when it comes to PRISM? Do FISA court orders have no weight when it comes to Twitter? There seems to be at least some choice when it comes to participating in this program, which renders the “court-ordered cooperation” cover at least a little questionable.
Maybe Paul’s lawsuit project will clear up this mystery.