The lawsuit seeks $20 billion in damages and attorney fees and an injunction ending the highly controversial program that began in 2007.
In addition to the nine companies named in a leaked NSA slideshow as providing government investigators direct, real-time access to their servers – AOL, Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, PalTalk, Skype, Yahoo! and YouTube – the lawsuit targets the CEOs of each company, the telecom companies AT&T and Sprint and their CEOs, President Barack Obama, Attorney General Eric Holder, NSA director Keith Alexander, the Department of Justice and the NSA.
Each of the nine companies has denied knowledge of, or participation in, the PRISM program.
There are three named plaintiffs in the class-action lawsuit filed Wednesday: Charles Strange, a Pennsylvania father whose son Michael, a Navy SEAL Team VI member, died in Afghanistan in 2011, and California private investigators Michael Ferrari and Matt Garrison.
"Defendants' willful acts constitute outrageous conduct insofar as they violated Plaintiffs' and Class members' basic democratic rights, constitutional rights, and exposed them to beyond an 'Orwellian regime of totalitarianism,'" the lawsuit says. "Plaintiffs' and Class members' rights are being surrendered in secret to the demands of unaccountable intelligence and other government agencies, as well as all of the Defendants." Read more >>