Google, Facebook, and other powerful tech companies said they tried to resist assisting the United States government in its massive surveillance operations. Tech titans like Yahoo reportedly challenged government surveillance requests in court, albeit mostly unsuccessfully.
But you know who hasn't been able to challenge these requests in court? We the People.
The Fourth Amendment protects "[t]he right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures." In the digital surveillance age, however, tech companies are our avatars. They speak for us and act as the primary check on government overreaching.
The exclusion of you, me, and every American from challenging government surveillance has its origins in the third party doctrine. The basic concept, embraced by the Supreme Court, is that when you share information with a third person, you can't say your privacy has been violated if the person shares that information with the government.
Similarly, you don't have a reasonable expectation of privacy ...