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Project on Government Oversight

Over 50 Groups Oppose Bill to Legalize and Extend NSA Surveillance

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December 18, 2013

The Honorable Harry Reid
Senate Majority Leader
S-221, The US Capitol
Washington, DC 20510

The Honorable John Boehner
Speaker of the House
H-232, The US Capitol
Washington, DC 20515

The Honorable Mitch McConnell
Senate Minority Leader
S-230, The US Capitol
Washington, DC 20510

The Honorable Nancy Pelosi House
Minority Leader
H-204, The US Capitol
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Members of Congress,

As civil liberties groups and other organizations advancing the public interest, we write this letter today to strongly urge you to oppose S. 1631, the FISA Improvements Act. The FISA Improvements Act does not offer real reform to stop the NSA’s mass collection of our communications and communications records.  Instead, S. 1631 seeks to entrench some of the worst forms of NSA surveillance into US law and to extend the NSA surveillance programs in unprecedented ways.

If the FISA Improvements Act were to pass, the NSA would continue to collect telephone records of hundreds of millions of Americans not suspected of any crime. This is a violation of Americans’ privacy and Constitutional rights. Multiple polls, including a September 2013 Associated Press poll, consistently show a strong majority of the American people opposing such programs.

Furthermore, the bill seeks to permit the NSA to restart the bulk collection of Internet communication records—an extremely invasive, secret program the government attempted under dubious legal ground but abandoned because it wasn't effective.

The NSA mass surveillance programs already sweep up data about millions of people daily. This shadow of surveillance chills freedom of speech, undermines confidence in US Internet companies, and runs afoul of the Constitution. 

Please champion real reform to end these programs and oppose S. 1631, which would codify and expand them.
 
Sincerely,

Access

Advocacy for Principled Action in Government

AIDS Policy Project

American Civil Liberties Union

American Library Association

Amicus

Arab American Institute

Bill of Rights Defense Committee

Brennan Center for Justice at NYU Law School

Campaign for Liberty

Center for Democracy and Technology

Center for Rights

Charity & Security Network

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW)

The Constitution Project

Council on American-Islamic Relations

CREDO Mobile

Cyber Privacy Project

Defending Dissent Foundation

Demand Progress

DownsizeDC.org

Electronic Frontier Foundation

F2C: Freedom to Connect

Fight for the Future

Firedoglake

Floor64

Free Press Action Fund

Free Software Foundation

Freedom of the Press Foundation

Government Accountability Project

Greenpeace USA

Human Rights Watch

InFo - The Foundation for Innovation and Internet Freedom

Liberty Coalition

Media Alliance

Media Mobilizing Project

Montgomery County Civil Rights Coalition

National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers

National Coalition Against Censorship

New America Foundation's Open Technology Institute

OpenMedia International

OpenTheGovernment.org

Participatory Politics Foundation

PEN American Center

PolitiHacks

Privacy Rights Clearinghouse

Progressive Change Campaign Committee

Project On Government Oversight

Public Knowledge

reddit

RootsAction.org

TechFreedom

The Rutherford Institute

ThoughtWorks

 

cc: Members of the House and Senate Judiciary and Intelligence Committees

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