We brought you the news that Mozilla and others had launched their “StopWatching.Us” campaign just a few days ago and it has already managed to achieved 100,000 signatures of support in quite a short space of time. The marks the beginning of what could be a long and draw out battle between activists in the USA and the government.
The “StopWatching.Us” campaign was launched by Mozilla and a very long list of other important individuals and organisations. As of writing the campaign currently has around 120,000 signatures – a number that is rising rapidly every hour. With just over 48 hours passed and 120,000 signatures progress is looking pretty good for the campaign but no doubt much more is needed before the political clout exists to challenge the U.S government.
The whole PRISM scandal has really put liberty back on the public agenda and the quick pace of change is largely reflective of the general outrage of a large proportion of the American population.
Currently the “StopWatching.Us” organisation is firmly pressing ahead with enlisting more support and challenging the U.S government. You can read their full letter to the U.S congress below or check out the site here.
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 an intelligence contractor 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, guard against unreasonable searches and seizures, and 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:
- 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;
- 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;
- Hold accountable those public officials who are found to be responsible for this unconstitutional surveillance.
Thank you for your attention to this matter.
Image courtesy of the EFF