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Working in coalition with the StopWatching.Us coalition to put a stop to NSA overreach.
Every day, we find out even more about how, and how pervasively, the NSA has been surveilling us and collecting our data. Whether it is your phone or Internet records, whether you reside in the US or not, the NSA has the means and desire to collect and store your data, and even share it with other government entities.
The outrage against these programs has been swift and broad. Over 585,000 people wrote to Congress this summer demanding an end to the bulk spying programs. Seventy-four percent of Americans think the NSA’s surveillance intrudes on their privacy rights. We came promisingly close to passing an amendment in the House of Representatives that would have defunded the massive collection, and so we knew that we had to keep fighting.
Public Knowledge has been on the front lines of this battle, working with StopWatching.US to make your voices against mass surveillance heard. Last Friday, we, along with many other members of the coalition, organized a lobby day on Capitol Hill. We brought scores of concerned citizens from around the country to meet face-to-face with legislators and make it clear that blanket surveillance of our communications has to stop. These patriots met with over 55 Congressional offices, getting the legislators’ thoughts and pushing them towards action. On Saturday, the same citizen lobbysts joined with thousands of others to participate in the massive StopWatching.Us rally, the largest rally against mass surveillance in the history of our country.
This week, Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Representative Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI) introduced the USA FREEDOM Act, a bill which would, among other things, end the bulk collection of phone records and also stop the back-door collection of Americans’ communications. This bill now faces competition from another bill introduced by the Chairs of the House and Senate Intelligence Committees. In contrast to the USA FREEDOM Act, the Intelligence bill essentially codifies the NSA’s current actions against Americans. As the bills move forward, Public Knowledge will continue to fight to ensure that meaningful, effective reforms will be passed.
Original image by Flickr user asterix611.