Policy Letter

POGO Joins Group Letter to Voice Concerns over EO 12333

August 29, 2014

To President Obama and Members of the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board:

We, the undersigned former government officials, organizations, and members of Congress, write to express our concerns about the U.S. government’s surveillance activities conducted under the authority of Executive Order 12333. Many involve communications that are protected by the U.S. Constitution, and all implicate international human rights law, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which the United States is a party. These activities undermine the fundamental rights of internet users everywhere.

We call on the President to declassify and make public all current and future legal opinions or interpretations concerning surveillance under Executive Order 12333 and the surveillance-related regulations issued thereunder. Secret law is a threat to democracy.

We further call on the President to ensure that there is no disproportionate or unnecessary collection or retention of users’ communications and personal information and to implement meaningful privacy protections for all users, U.S. and foreign, in surveillance activities conducted under E.O. 12333, including the privacy recommendations of the President’s Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technologies.

We call on both the President and the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board to engage in a searching examination of surveillance under E.O. 12333, to insist upon declassification of information that would help the public understand the nature and extent of this surveillance, and to suggest mechanisms and specific steps to implement the above recommendations as soon as possible.

We will continue to work to build support for further privacy protections for all users in surveillance activities conducted under E.O. 12333.

For questions or followup, please contact Amie Stepanovich: [email protected]


Members of Congress

Representative John Conyers

Representative Alan Grayson

Representative Rush Holt

Representative Zoe Lofgren

Former Government Officials

Ed Felton, former FTC Chief Technologist

Ian Schuler, former State Department official

John Tye, former State Department official



Advocacy for Principled Action in Government

American Civil Liberties Union

American Library Association

American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC)

Amnesty International

Association for Progressive Communications


Campaign for Digital Fourth Amendment Rights

Center for Democracy and Technology

Center for Digital Democracy

Constitutional Alliance

Council on American-Islamic Relations

Cyber Privacy Project

Defending Dissent Foundation

Demand Progress


Electronic Frontier Foundation

Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC)

Free Press Action Fund

Freedom of the Press Foundation

Global Network Initiative

Government Accountability Project

Human Rights Watch

Libertarian Party

Media Alliance

National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers

National Coalition Against Censorship

National Security Counselors

Open Net (Korea)

Open Technology Institute at New America Foundation



PEN American Center

Project on Government Oversight (POGO)

Restore the Fourth


Samuelson-Glushko Canadian Internet Policy & Public Interest Clinic (CIPPIC)

Silent Circle

Student Net Alliance

Sunlight Foundation


World Press Freedom Committee

World Privacy Forum

World Wide Web Foundation

X-Lab at New America Foundation