Coalition of More Than 80 Organizations and Companies Call on U.S. Congress to End NSA Spying

On Tuesday, Access and more than 80 organizations and internet companies sent a letter to Congress demanding an immediate halt to and investigation of the U.S. National Security Agency’s surveillance programs. Other signatories include the American Civil Liberties Union, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Mozilla, and reddit.

The letter coincided with the coalition’s launch of StopWatching.Us, a petition site demanding an inquiry into the scope and scale of the NSA’s spying activities.

“Mass surveillance is a violation of the fundamental rights of internet users around the globe,” said Access’ Executive Director Brett Solomon. “We stand for the defense of the universal rights of all users to privacy and due process. Programs such as these are part of an alarming trend towards pervasive state surveillance and control of communications that violates individual rights, no matter what country you live in.”

Individuals who would like to speak out against NSA spying are encouraged to sign here: https://StopWatching.Us


The lead organizers of the letter to Congress and the petition site will host a call at 1pm EST today to discuss the revelations about the NSA’s spying programs and the need for swift and decisive reform. The details of the call are as follows:

Call time: 1 p.m. EST
Call number: 424-203-8405
Dial-in code: 699082

For more information, please contact:

Katherine Maher
[email protected]

Read the full text of the letter and the list of signers 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.

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
Association of Research Libraries
Bill of Rights Defense Committee
Calyx Institute
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
CREDO Mobile
Cyber Privacy Project
Daily Kos
Defending Dissent Foundation
Demand Progress
Detroit Digital Justice Coalition
Digital Fourth
Downsize DC
Electronic Frontier Foundation
Entertainment Consumers Association
Fight for the Future
Foundation for Innovation and Internet Freedom
Free Press
Free Software Foundation
Freedom of the Press Foundation
Friends of Privacy USA
Get FISA Right
Government Accountability Project
Greenpeace USA
Institute of Popular Education of Southern California (IDEPSCA)
Internet Archive, LLC
Knowledge Ecology International (KEI)
Law Life Culture
Liberty Coalition
May First/People Link
Media Alliance
Media Mobilizing Project, Philadelphia
National Coalition Against Censorship
New Sanctuary Coalition of NYC
Open Technology Institute
Participatory Politics Foundation
Patient Privacy Rights
People for the American Way
Privacy and Access Council of Canada
Public Interest Advocacy Centre (Ottawa, Canada)
Public Knowledge
Privacy Activism
Privacy Camp
Privacy Rights Clearinghouse
Privacy Times
Rights Working Group
Rocky Mountain Civil Liberties Association
Samuelson-Glushko Canadian Internet Policy & Public Interest Clinic
Sunlight Foundation
Taxpayers Protection Alliance
The AIDS Policy Project, Philadelphia
TURN-The Utility Reform Network
Urbana-Champaign Independent Media Center
World Wide Web Foundation
William C. Velasquez Institute (WCVI)