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Over 100 Civil Liberties Organizations and Internet Companies Demand a FullScale Congressional Investigation Into NSA Surveillance

Last Updated on May 19, 2020, 10:00 am ET

Today, dozens of civil liberties organizations and Internet companies — including the Electronic Privacy Information Center, National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, ThoughtWorks, and Americans for Limited Government — have joined the coalition demanding that Congress initiate a full-scale investigation into the NSA’s surveillance programs.

This morning, we sent an updated letter to Congress with 115 organizations and companies demanding public transparency and an end to dragnet surveillance.

The letter comes even as dozens of groups are organizing a nationwide call-in campaign to demand transparency and an end to the NSA’s unconstitutional surveillance program via https://call.stopwatching.us.

It’s been less than two weeks since the first NSA revelations were published in the Guardian, and it’s clear the American people want Congress to act. The first step is organizing an independent investigation, similar to the Church Committee from the 1970s, into all of the NSA’s surveillance capabilities. Our letter tells Congress:

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…

In addition, the StopWatching.us global petition has gathered more than 215,000 signatures since it was launched one week ago. The petition calls on Congress and the President to provide a public accounting of the United States’ domestic spying capabilities and to bring an end to illegal surveillance.

Research libraries have a deep and longstanding commitment to privacy and freedom of inquiry, and we were among the first to raise the alarm about Section 215. Indeed, shortly after passage of the PATRIOT Act, Section 215 became known as the “library records provision” because it so clearly permitted violation of the expectation of privacy that Americans have when it comes to things like what books they read.

You can read the full coalition letter, with an up-to-date list of the signees, at Stopwatching.us.