U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., is now looking to sue the federal government over its policy of massive data collection on American citizens, including the logging of phone calls and Internet activities.
“I’m going to be seeing if I can challenge this at the Supreme Court level. I’m going to be asking the Internet providers and all of the phone companies: Ask your customers to join me in a class-action lawsuit,” Paul said on “Fox News Sunday.”
“If we get 10 million Americans saying, ‘We don’t want our phone records looked at’ then maybe someone will wake up and things will change in Washington.”
Paul called the National Security Agency’s monitoring of telephone call logs and the Internet an “extraordinary invasion of privacy,” noting the agency is monitoring more than “a billion phone calls a day,” an alarming number that is a violation of the Fourth Amendment.
“I think the American people are with me and I think if you talk to young people who use computers on a daily basis, they are absolutely with me,” Paul said, adding that the vast amount of information being collected is actually counterproductive in the war on terror.
“We are looking through so much data that I think it makes our fight against terrorism worse,” Paul said.
Paul has been an outspoken critic of the NSA’s massive surveillance program, which came under fire after the Guardian reported last week on the agency’s collection of phone records from millions of Americans.
On Thursday, he slammed the NSA’s activities as an “astounding assault on the Constitution” and accused President Obama’s administration of having a worse “bent towards authoritarianism” than former President George W. Bush.
“The irony is that people voted for President Obama hoping for something different,” Paul said in a statement. “That’s why a lot of people I think are disappointed in the president. They’re disappointed in him targeting reporters. There’s just a lot to be disappointed about.”
On Sunday, Paul raised concerns about the scope of the program, which he said goes far beyond a “modest invasion of privacy.”
“I have no problem if you have probable cause,” Paul said. “But we’re talking about trolling through a billion phone records a day.”