86 Companies And Groups Ask Congress To Put An End To Abusive NSA Spying

from the enough-is-enough dept

A group of nearly 100 civil liberties, public interest groups and internet companies have asked Congress to put an end to the abusive NSA surveillance that we’ve been writing about over the past week (full disclosure: our company, Floor64, is a part of the coalition, along with the EFF, ACLU, reddit, Mozilla, the American Library Assocation, the Internet Archive and many, many more). Along with this effort, a new website has been launched, called Stop Watching Us, which is collecting more signatures for the letter, while also asking for some specific reforms from Congress.

  1. Enact reform this Congress to Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act, the state secrets privilege, and the FISA Amendments Act to make clear that blanket surveillance of the Internet activity and phone records of any person residing in the U.S. is prohibited by law and that violations can be reviewed in adversarial proceedings before a public court;
  2. Create a special committee to investigate, report, and reveal to the public the extent of this domestic spying. This committee should create specific recommendations for legal and regulatory reform to end unconstitutional surveillance;
  3. Hold accountable those public officials who are found to be responsible for this unconstitutional surveillance.

The full text of the letter is below.


Dear Members of Congress,

We write to express our concern about recent reports published in the Guardian and the Washington Post, and acknowledged by the Obama Administration, which reveal secret spying by the National Security Agency (NSA) on phone records and Internet activity of people in the United States. 

The Washington Post and the Guardian recently published reports based on information provided by a career intelligence officer showing how the NSA and the FBI are gaining broad access to data collected by nine of the leading U.S. Internet companies and sharing this information with foreign governments. As reported, the U.S. government is extracting audio, video, photographs, e-mails, documents, and connection logs that enable analysts to track a person’s movements and contacts over time. As a result, the contents of communications of people both abroad and in the U.S. can be swept in without any suspicion of crime or association with a terrorist organization. 

Leaked reports also published by the Guardian and confirmed by the Administration reveal that the NSA is also abusing a controversial section of the PATRIOT Act to collect the call records of millions of Verizon customers. The data collected by the NSA includes every call made, the time of the call, the duration of the call, and other “identifying information” for millions of Verizon customers, including entirely domestic calls, regardless of whether those customers have ever been suspected of a crime. The Wall Street Journal has reported that other major carriers, including AT&T and Sprint, are subject to similar secret orders. 

This type of blanket data collection by the government strikes at bedrock American values of freedom and privacy. This dragnet surveillance violates the First and Fourth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution, which protect citizens’ right to speak and associate anonymously and guard against unreasonable searches and seizures that protect their right to privacy.

We are calling on Congress to take immediate action to halt this surveillance and provide a full public accounting of the NSA’s and the FBI’s data collection programs. We call on Congress to immediately and publicly:

1. Enact reform this Congress to Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act, the state secrets privilege, and the FISA Amendments Act to make clear that blanket surveillance of the Internet activity and phone records of any person residing in the U.S. is prohibited by law and that violations can be reviewed in adversarial proceedings before a public court;

2. Create a special committee to investigate, report, and reveal to the public the extent of this domestic spying. This committee should create specific recommendations for legal and regulatory reform to end unconstitutional surveillance;

3. Hold accountable those public officials who are found to be responsible for this unconstitutional surveillance.

Thank you for your attention to this matter. 

Sincerely,

 

Access

Advocacy for Principled Action in Government

American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression

American Civil Liberties Union

American Civil Liberties Union of California

American Library Association

Amicus

Association of Research Libraries

Bill of Rights Defense Committee

BoingBoing

Breadpig

Calyx Institute

Canvas

Center for Democracy and Technology

Center for Digital Democracy

Center for Financial Privacy and Human Rights

Center for Media and Democracy

Center for Media Justice

Competitive Enterprise Institute

Consumer Action

Consumer Watchdog

CorpWatch

CREDO Mobile

Cyber Privacy Project

Daily Kos

Defending Dissent Foundation

Demand Progress

Detroit Digital Justice Coalition

Digital Fourth

Downsize DC

DuckDuckGo

Electronic Frontier Foundation

Entertainment Consumers Association

Fight for the Future

Floor64

Foundation for Innovation and Internet Freedom

4Chan

Free Press

Free Software Foundation

Freedom of the Press Foundation

FreedomWorks

Friends of Privacy USA

Get FISA Right

Government Accountability Project

Greenpeace USA

Institute of Popular Education of Southern California (IDEPSCA)

Internet Archive

isen.com, LLC

Knowledge Ecology International (KEI)

Law Life Culture

Liberty Coalition

May First/People Link

Media Alliance

Media Mobilizing Project, Philadelphia

Mozilla

Namecheap

National Coalition Against Censorship

New Sanctuary Coalition of NYC

Open Technology Institute

OpenMedia.org

Participatory Politics Foundation

Patient Privacy Rights 

People for the American Way

Personal Democracy Media

PolitiHacks

Privacy and Access Council of Canada

Public Interest Advocacy Centre (Ottawa, Canada)

Public Knowledge

Privacy Activism

Privacy Camp

Privacy Rights Clearinghouse

Privacy Times

reddit

Represent.us

Rights Working Group

Rocky Mountain Civil Liberties Association

RootsAction.org

Samuelson-Glushko Canadian Internet Policy & Public Interest Clinic

Sunlight Foundation

Taxpayers Protection Alliance

TechFreedom

The AIDS Policy Project, Philadelphia

TURN-The Utility Reform Network

Urbana-Champaign Independent Media Center

William C. Velasquez Institute (WCVI)

World Wide Web Foundation

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Companies: aclu, american library association, eff, floor64, mozilla, reddit

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Comments on “86 Companies And Groups Ask Congress To Put An End To Abusive NSA Spying”

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41 Comments
art guerrillasays:

dog damn, i hates my gummint...

fuckers…
like the poster above, EVEN IF they weally, weally, cwoss-my-ha-rart-and-hope-to-die pwomise to not ebber, ebber do that again, I DO NOT TRUST THEM, PERIOD…
(they have EARNED that distrust, REPEATEDLY…)

not that it will do any good, but signed on myself…

art guerrilla
aka ann archy
eof

Anonymoussays:

Mikin’ It! Mikin’ It!
Mikin’ It! Mikin’ It!
Mikin’ It! Mikin’ It!
Mikin’ It! Mikin’ It!
Mikin’ It! Mikin’ It!

No one on this planet will publish more words about this than Mike. Just like he did with Swartz. And, of course, just like with Swartz, Mike will refuse to discuss any of it directly and honestly.

No ask yourself this: Why would a man publish more words about something than any other person on earth, yet, at the same time, refuse to discuss any of it on the merits?

A man like that clearly is hiding something.

atrocities still not revealed

Not just spying; torture, forced suicide, harassment, murder of Targets.

Mike Rogers and Dianne Feinstein of the congress have an affirmative duty to the people to address the atrocities ongoing by the fbi/cia/nsa/etc. So far, they have dodged their responsibility. Why!

http://lissakr11humane.com/2012/09/08/collapse-of-the-constitutional-government-of-the-united-states-of-america-by-geral-sosbee/

The fbi are traitors; a murderer is less to fear.

http://www.newciv.org/nl/newslog.php/_v194/__show_article/_a000194-000518.htm

The fbi and their operatives at all levels of government and in the private sector seek to fabricate a person of interest so as to falsely portray him as a domestic terrorist.

http://barcelona.indymedia.org/newswire/display/469056/index.php

http://www.newciv.org/nl/newslog.php/_v194/__show_article/_a000194-000528.htm

http://sosbeevfbi.ning.com/profiles/blogs/police-come-to-my-home-on-fishing-expedition?xg_source=activity

We are the fbi:

http://sosbeevfbi.ning.com/profiles/blogs/public-notice-by-geral-sosbee-attributed-to-fbi?xg_source=activity

Huffington Post & fbi delete all of my previous years’ posts, delete my ‘Super User’ status, and require me to re-apply for membership. previously I was a member for several years with dozens of approved and posted reports, and with fans, followers, and multiple notifications. Today Huffington Post shows the following profile data on me:

gsosbee

Member Since June 2013

Comments (2) | Friends (0)

Janeysays:

I mostly agree but some of these same fools are pushing for more intrusive background checks and stuff for people to exercise constitutional rights. They’re being hypocritical at best.

And none of them want to call out their pal Obama for being a bigger dirtbag than Bush, even though VP Biden has been a tech privacy failure since day 1. All of them have. Bought out by Hollywood.

Anonymoussays:

all these entities want the spying stopped, even though Obama himself has said there’s nothing wrong with it, it’s perfectly legal. i’m waiting for the ‘nothing to hide’ bull shit! what i will be curious to see is how much baking Snowden will get once he is ‘taken into custody’. what he has done is a real service and eye opener for everyone. he is going to be hounded now until he is caught. once caught, if he can be smuggled out of wherever back to the USA, he will get a life of total misery, just like Manning. and for what? making everyone wake up and have to admit to what is going on, how no one is safe, not from others but from your own government! what a situation to have found himself in!! if anything untoward happens to him, i hope the retaliatory shit storm is of the greatest severity from everywhere. and remember, the USA isn’t the only country doing this! so dont think you are safe, wherever you are!!

Anonymoussays:

i hope that the entertainment industries are not left out of this. they are the worst industry for this spying stuff. they have been pushing for and been granted multiple chabges to laws, new laws and changes that make civil ‘crimes’ now ‘criminal’ crimes. it’s no good stopping blanket surveillance by law enforcement and leaving Congress to allow these industries able to carry on. all that will happen is that whatever data they gather, will be passed on to law enforcement, thereby nulling the whole idea of ‘no surveillance’ anyway!! the whole document that contains the changes wanted needs to be worded very carefully. after all, thge wording is what gave rise to this crap in the first place, where one set can interpret this way, another set can interpret another way!!

Jamessays:

Apparently Stop Watching Us has been hacked, as the link to their Privacy Policy is redirected to heroku.com.

Who knows where the emails, names, and addresses of those who “Signed” the site have ended up.

I don’t mind standing up for my rights – I’ll even stand up publicly. But it truly sucks when online “protests” are vulnerable to potential redirection of personal information.

It’s no-win:
Don’t use real info, and the “signatures” won’t be taken seriously.

Use real info, and Google only knows who gets copies of that info.

Even if the SSL error I got is benign, the issue remains: just because “FightForTheFuture” says they’re protesting, who’s to know?

ERROR MESSAGE FOLLOWS
You attempted to reach http://www.fightforthefuture.org, but instead you actually reached a server identifying itself as *.heroku.com. This may be caused by a misconfiguration on the server or by something more serious. An attacker on your network could be trying to get you to visit a fake (and potentially harmful) version of http://www.fightforthefuture.org.
eof

out_of_the_bluesays:

Mike helps feed BIG DATA.

@ “wanted my Name, Address, and e-mail to sign the petition.” — Every cause that Monetizing Mike supports appears to bring him or his pals money. And they don’t mind being grifters, actually enjoy it.

There’s another red flag: “You attempted to reach http://www.fightforthefuture.org, but instead you actually reached a server identifying itself as *.heroku.com.” … Hmm.

BUT even assuming this is legit, my point is that EVERYTHING you do on the net gets fed into the maw of the beast, where it’s collated, and you end up tracked, if only by commercial interests, and makes it worse. You are of value only as an economic unit, to be sold by the thousand. That’s the major flaw of the net. Corporations don’t have any right at all to your information, it’s just that there are no explicit — or no enforced — laws against it. But if you want to be free, it’s going to require REGULATING corporations.

Chronno S. Triggersays:

Re: Re: Mike helps feed BIG DATA.

Let’s see. A letter to the United States Government from people claiming to be voting citizens of the United States signed by people going by names like “Out of The Blue”. Yeah, that’s going to go over well.

Would you not give your name if you spoke to your representative directly?

There are points when anonymity is the best answer, there are points where it’s the worst. You seem to think that it can only be one or the other. Give the NSA all your data, or accept Anonymous Coward as everyone’s signature.

DannyBsays:

Re: Re: Mike helps feed BIG DATA.

But if you want to be free, it’s going to require REGULATING corporations.

The NSA is not a corporation. But the MPAA and RIAA are groups of corporations whose mad obsession to take away freedom under the guise of copyright must be reigned in. I would be all for stopping piracy if they weren’t going to create massive ‘collateral damage’ in the process.

Anonymoussays:

Pretty sad when Ai Weiwei compares the US to his homeland.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/jun/11/nsa-surveillance-us-behaving-like-china

Let’s face it, the US Constitution is about as valuable as the Communist Manifesto when the core doctrines of a free people are subverted to the governing body. Their actions might have the best interest at heart, but it will inevitable lead to social injustice.

Now I wonder where the other 95% of the global population stands on being spied on by the US Administration?

horse with no namesays:

Gotta laugh

I love when Techdirt is somewhat less than transparent. You have to read down the list of names to discover not “techdirt” but “Floor64” on the list. No mention in the story of course that the piece is being run because Techdirt is one of the co-signers.

Why hold other up to a level of transparency when you cannot do it yourselves?

FreeCultureForFreePeoplesays:

I think they should not only be held responsible for their spying actions, but also be charged with the worst of all crimes that presently exists: copyright infringement. Isn’t “…extracting audio, video, photographs, e-mails, documents…” exactly what the Hollywood-MAFIAA is so desperately trying to fight? How come I don’t see their names on the list? Surely the Government must owe them gazillions in lost revenue by now? And just think of all the lost jobs! And, of course, the children!

Oh, wait… I forgot – the Hollywood-MAFIAA IS the Government!

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