Hepting V. AT&T
Hepting v. AT&T is a United States class action lawsuit filed in January 2006 by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) against the telecommunications company AT&T, in which the EFF alleges that AT&T permitted and assisted the National Security Agency (NSA) in unlawfully monitoring the communications of the United States, including AT&T customers, businesses and third parties whose communications were routed through AT&T's network, as well as Voice over IP telephone calls routed via the Internet.
The case is separate from, but related to, the NSA warrantless surveillance controversy, in which the federal government agency bypassed the courts to monitor U.S. phone calls without warrants. Hepting v. AT&T does not include the federal government as a party.
In July 2006, the United States District Court for the Northern District of California—in which the suit was filed—rejected a federal government motion to dismiss the case. The motion to dismiss, which invoked the State Secrets Privilege, had argued that any court review of the alleged partnership between the federal government and AT&T would harm national security.
The case was immediately appealed to the Ninth Circuit. It was dismissed on June 3, 2009, citing retroactive legislation in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. On October 9, 2012, the Supreme Court of the United States denied to review Hepting. The Electronic Frontier Foundation, however, vowed to continue working on a similar case named Jewel v. NSA.