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FILE - In this June 6, 2013 file photo, a sign stands outside the National Security Agency (NSA) campus in Fort Meade, Md. There was a break in the case of a man who fired shots on several occupied vehicles and the headquarters of the NSA when he returned to the scene of the first shooting, police said Wednesday. The 35-year-old Prince George's County man was arrested Tuesday night near Arundel Mills mall, where shots were fired Feb. 24. A man driving away from a gas station near the mall was injured by glass shot out from his car, police said. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

A federal appeals court cleared the way for a lawsuit against NSA's surveillance practices

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A federal appeals court has revived a lawsuit challenging the National Security Agency's collection of emails, texts and other online communications that privacy experts have long argued violates constitutional protections of Americans' privacy.

A three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond on Tuesday reversed a lower court decision and declared that Wikimedia Foundation has the legal standing to pursue the case against the NSA, America's primary foreign spy surveillance agency.

Wikimedia alleges in its suit, backed by the American Civil Liberties Union, that the NSA's upstream collection practices violate the 4th Amendment because they gather without a warrant emails, texts and other internet communications between two people who mention an authorized surveillance target by name but aren't themselves covered by a court order to be surveilled.

The revival of the suit occurred the same day that Circa reported that previously classified documents showed the NSA improperly searched upstream communications for information about Americans for years in violation of its own rules and did not disclose the issues in a timely manner to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.

NSA said it stopped such searches in April for the time being.

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