[JURIST] The US Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals [official website] ruled [text, PDF] Tuesday that it would review a lower court decision [JURIST report] allowing a class action lawsuit [EFF case backgrounder; JURIST report] filed against the Bush administration's domestic surveillance program [JURIST news archive] to proceed to trial. The lawsuit, brought by the Electronic Frontier Foundation [advocacy website], alleges that AT&T [corporate website] violated US citizens' rights to privacy and several federal statutes when it permitted the National Security Agency [official website] to use its infrastructure to wiretap individuals without first obtaining warrants. US District Judge Vaughn Walker [official profile] of the US Northern District of California [official website] ruled that the lawsuit could go to trial despite arguments by the government that it could lead to confidential information being revealed which would put the country at risk.
Last year, President Bush admitted that the NSA was monitoring telephone calls and e-mails of conversations with individuals suspected of being involved with the al Qaeda terrorist network if one of the individuals was communicating from outside the US. But the government has not addressed the lawsuit's allegations that calls between two domestic parties are also being wiretapped. The federal appeals court has not yet indicated when it will rule on Walker's decision and the case has been stayed [JURIST report] pending the court's review of the appeal. AP has more.