Today, the first Snowden disclosures in 2013 feel like a distant memory. The public perception of surveillance has changed dramatically since and, likewise, the battle to shape the legality and logistics of such snooping is continually evolving.
To us, 2015 appeared to be the year where major change would happen whether pro- or anti-surveillance. Experts felt a shift was equally imminent. “I think it’s impossible to tell which case will be the one that does it, but I believe that, ultimately, the Supreme Court will have to step in and decide the constitutionality of some of the NSA’s practices,” Mark Rumold, an attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, told Ars last year.
The presumed movement would all start with a lawsuit filed by veteran conservative activist Larry Klayman. Filed the day after the initial Snowden disclosures, his lawsuit would essentially put a stop to unchecked NSA surveillance. In January 2015, he remained the only plaintiff whose case had won when fighting for privacy against the newly understood government monitoring. (Of course, it was a victory in name only—the judicial order in Klayman was stayed pending the government’s appeal at the time).
With January 2016 mere hours away, however, the significance of Klayman is hard to decipher. The past year saw an end…