Rand Paul Wants Class-Action Lawsuit on Government Snooping

Sunday, 09 Jun 2013 11:07 AM

By Greg Richter

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With the government looking at a billion telephone calls every day, Sen. Rand Paul wants Americans to join a class-action lawsuit to take the issue to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Appearing on Fox News Sunday, the Kentucky Republican said he wants all Internet providers and phone companies to ask their customers to join his suit.

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"If we get 10 million Americans saying we don't want our phone records looked, then maybe somebody will wake up and say things will change in Washington," Paul said.

President Barack Obama called the computer searches of metadata a necessary compromise of privacy to ensure security.

"That doesn't sound like a 'modest invasion of privacy,'" Paul said. "It sounds like an extraordinary invasion of privacy."

The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution says that a specific warrant can be asked for to obtain such record, Paul said, but the mining of metadata of all phone calls and Internet activity is a general warrant.

"This is what we objected to, and what our Founding Fathers partly fought the Revolution over," Paul said. The founders, he said, didn't want generalized warrants where soldiers could go house-to-house looking for things. Today, that is being done computer-to-computer, phone-to-phone without specifying who is being targeted, he said.

Paul said he has no issue with the government getting a warrant when they have probable cause to suspect terrorism.

"Get a warrant," he said. "Go after a terrorist or a murderer or a rapist. But don't troll through a billion phone records every day. That is unconstitutional; it invades our privacy."

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Paul plans to introduce the Fourth Amendment Restoration Act to ensure the freedoms outlined in the amendment aren't lost. Asked whether it had a real chance of passage, Paul said young people who use the Internet are behind him.

"So much of our life now is digitalized that we have to protect it from a snooping government."


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