Photo by Acroterion, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.

The ACLU has filed a notice of appeal in Wikimedia v. NSA in the US Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Today, on behalf of the Wikimedia Foundation and our eight co-plaintiffs, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed a notice of appeal in Wikimedia v. NSA. We filed this suit in March, 2015 to challenge the United States’ National Security Agency’s Upstream mass surveillance practices, in order to protect the rights of our users around the world. You can read the full complaint here.

On October 23, 2015, Judge T.S. Ellis, III, ruled that the Wikimedia Foundation and our co-plaintiffs lack standing to bring this challenge. Today’s filing indicates that we intend to appeal that decision to the United States Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. The exact timetable of the appeal will be determined in the near future by the appeals court.

Our users’ rights to privacy and free expression are fundamental to the Wikimedia free knowledge movement. This lawsuit is an important vector by which we can defend those rights. We look forward to the coming appeal, and we will post additional updates as they develop.

Michelle Paulson, Legal Director*
Geoff Brigham, General Counsel
Wikimedia Foundation

*Special thanks to all who have supported us in this effort, including the ACLU’s Patrick Toomey, Jameel Jaffer, Alex Abdo, and Ashley Gorski, along with the Wikimedia Foundation’s Aeryn Palmer and Jim Buatti.


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The Wikimedia Foundation’s mission is to support the communities of readers and contributors who share and consume information on Wikipedia and the other free-knowledge projects. Privacy and anonymity are crucial to the free sharing of knowledge. Mass surveillance erodes our privacy and individualism, and undermines our expressive and associational freedoms.

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As a nonprofit, Wikipedia and our related free knowledge projects are powered primarily through donations.


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Pantheón, Acropolis