June 19, 2013 | By rainey Reitman

EFF Joins Over 100 Civil Liberties Organizations and Internet Companies in Demanding a Full-Scale Congressional Investigation Into NSA Surveillance

Dozens of civil liberties organizations and Internet companiesincluding the Electronic Privacy Information Center, National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, ThoughtWorks, and Americans for Limited Governmenttoday joined a coalition demanding 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 illegal spying.   

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 in the 1970s, to publicly account for all of the NSA’s surveillance capabilities. This type of public process will ensure the American people are informed, once and for all, about government surveillance conducted in their name. 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, our stop StopWatching.us global petition has gathered more than 200,000 signatures since it was launched one week ago. The petition calls on Congress and the President to provide public access and scrutiny of the United States' domestic spying capabilities and to bring an end to illegal surveillance. Please support our efforts to rein in the NSA’s surveillance program by adding your name now

The StopWatching.us campaign has called for a number of specific legal reforms in addition to calling for an investigation, including reform to the controversial Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act, which was cited in the shockingly broad FISA order that demanded Verizon hand the NSA phone records data on millions of its US customers. The groups also call on Congress to reform the FISA Amendments Act, the unconstitutional law that allows, nearly without restriction, the government to conduct mass surveillance on communications going into and out of the United States. The letter and petition also demand that Congress amend the state secrets privilege, the pernicious legal tool the government has asserted in an attempt to block judges from deciding the constitutionality of the NSA’s domestic spying program.

If you haven’t yet, please visit StopWatching.us and sign the petition and call your elected officials.

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

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.




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


Art is Change

Association of Alternative Newsmedia

Association of Research Libraries

Bill of Rights Defense Committee


Bradley Manning Support Network


Californians Aware

Calyx Institute

Campaign for Liberty


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


CREDO Mobile

Cyber Privacy Project

Daily Kos

Defending Dissent Foundation

Demand Progress

Detroit Digital Justice Coalition

Digital Fourth

Downsize DC


Electronic Frontier Foundation

Electronic Frontiers Australia, Inc.

Electronic Privacy Information Center

Entertainment Consumers Association

Fight for the Future




Foundation for Innovation and Internet Freedom


Free Press

Free Software Foundation

Freedom of the Press Foundation


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




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



Participatory Politics Foundation

Patient Privacy Rights 

People for the American Way

Personal Democracy Media


Popular Resistance

Public Interest Advocacy Centre (Ottawa, Canada)

Project on Government Oversight

Public Knowledge

Privacy Activism

Privacy Camp

Privacy Journal

Privacy Rights Clearinghouse

Privacy Times

Progressive Librarians Guild



Restore America's Voice

Rights Working Group

Rocky Mountain Civil Liberties Association


Samuelson-Glushko Canadian Internet Policy & Public Interest Clinic

Sunlight Foundation

Taxpayers Protection Alliance


Tenth Amendment Center

The AIDS Policy Project, Philadelphia

The Other 98%



TURN-The Utility Reform Network

Urbana-Champaign Independent Media Center

William C. Velasquez Institute (WCVI)

World Wide Web Foundation


Deeplinks Topics

Stay in Touch

NSA Spying

EFF is leading the fight against the NSA's illegal mass surveillance program. Learn more about what the program is, how it works, and what you can do.

Follow EFF

Censorship powers, data retention, and vague hacking crimes: Pakistan's terrible cybercrime bill has it all: https://www.eff.org/deeplinks...

Nov 25 @ 5:11pm

While Bangladesh blocks social messaging apps, locals are turning to Tor and Twitter: https://globalvoices.org/2015...

Nov 25 @ 3:50pm

You've heard recent news about Securus, the prison phone service. It's also the proud owner of a very stupid patent. https://www.eff.org/deeplinks...

Nov 25 @ 3:09pm
JavaScript license information