Skip to Main Content
Project on Government Oversight

POGO Joins Over 100 Groups in Voicing Concerns Over NSA Spying

June 19, 2013

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 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:

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

Americans for Job Security

Americans for Limited Government

Amicus

Art is Change

Association of Alternative Newsmedia

Association of Research Libraries

Bill of Rights Defense Committee

BoingBoing

Bradley Manning Support Network

Breadpig

Californians Aware

Calyx Institute

Campaign for Liberty

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

Constitutional Alliance

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

Electronic Frontiers Australia, Inc.

Electronic Privacy Information Center

Entertainment Consumers Association

Fight for the Future

Firedoglake

Firstamendment.com

Floor64

Foundation for Innovation and Internet Freedom

4Chan

Free Press

Free Software Foundation

Freedom of the Press Foundation

FreedomWorks

Friends of Privacy USA

Fund for Constitutional Government

Get FISA Right

Government Accountability Project

Green Party of the United States

Greenpeace USA

Institute of Popular Education of Southern California (IDEPSCA)

Internet Archive

isen.com, LLC

Knowledge Ecology International (KEI)

Law Life Culture

Liberty Coalition

Mansfield North Central Ohio Tea Party Association

May First/People Link

Media Alliance

Media Mobilizing Project, Philadelphia

Montgomery County Civil Rights Coalition

MoveOn

Mozilla

Namecheap

National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers

National Coalition Against Censorship

National Security Counselors

New Sanctuary Coalition of NYC

New York Civil Liberties Union

Open Technology Institute

OpenMedia.org

OpentheGovernment.org

Participatory Politics Foundation

Patient Privacy Rights 

People for the American Way

Personal Democracy Media

PolitiHacks

Popular Resistance

Public Interest Advocacy Centre (Ottawa, Canada)

Project On Government Oversight (POGO)

Public Knowledge

Privacy Activism

Privacy Camp

Privacy Journal

Privacy Rights Clearinghouse

Privacy Times

Progressive Librarians Guild

reddit

Represent.us

Restore America's Voice

Rights Working Group

Rocky Mountain Civil Liberties Association

RootsAction.org

Samuelson-Glushko Canadian Internet Policy & Public Interest Clinic

Sunlight Foundation

Taxpayers Protection Alliance

TechFreedom

Tenth Amendment Center

The AIDS Policy Project, Philadelphia

The Other 98%

ThoughtWorks

350.org

TURN-The Utility Reform Network

Urbana-Champaign Independent Media Center

William C. Velasquez Institute (WCVI)

World Wide Web Foundation

Related Work