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Wikipedia Says It Is Suing The NSA For Spying On Its Users

The company claims that the NSA is flouting the Fourth and First Amendments through its surveillance of mass amounts of American Internet traffic.

Posted on March 10, 2015, at 11:36 a.m. ET

Gary Cameron / Reuters

Wikipedia says it is suing the NSA because the federal agency is violating its users' rights of free speech.

The online encyclopedia's founder,Jimmy Wales, and the executive director of Wikimedia, Lila Tretikov, said in a column in the New York Times on Tuesday that the company is filing the lawsuit to protect the rights of those that use its services.

"We're doing so because a fundamental pillar of democracy is at stake: the free exchange of knowledge and ideas," they wrote.

The duo claims that the NSA is flouting the Fourth and First Amendments through its surveillance of mass amounts of American Internet traffic.

Wales and Tretikov argue that it is unlawful for the NSA to monitor Wikipedia's users by tracking their activity every time they view or edit a page on the website.

"This dedicated global community of users is united by their passion for knowledge, their commitment to inquiry, and their dedication to the privacy and expression that makes Wikipedia possible," the organization wrote on its blog. "We file today on their behalf."

Wikipedia says that these privacy concerns are particularly worrisome when it applies to its users overseas, some of whom could be punished by their governments if they are caught viewing or editing a controversial entry.

"These volunteers should be able to do their work without having to worry that the United States government is monitoring what they read and write," Wales and Tretikov wrote.

The NSA did not respond to an emailed request for comment from BuzzFeed News.

Wales and Tretikov said the company is filing the lawsuit with the help of the American Civil Liberties Union, and is asking the court to issue an order demanding the NSA stop bulk surveillance.

"Knowledge flourishes where privacy is protected," Wales and Tretikov said.

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.