Originally posted 24 October 2013 at StopWatching.us. Read by Jesselyn Radack to the Rally Against Mass Surveillance in Washington DC on 26 October 2013.
In the last four months, we’ve learned a lot about our government.
We’ve learned that the US intelligence community secretly built a system of pervasive surveillance. Today, no telephone in America makes a call without leaving a record with the NSA. Today, no internet transaction enters or leaves America without passing through the NSA’s hands. Our representatives in Congress tell us this is not surveillance. They’re wrong.
Now it’s time for the government to learn from us. On Saturday, the ACLU, EFF and the rest of the StopWatching.Us coalition are going to DC. Join us in sending the message: Stop Watching Us.
Stop Watching US protesters, Washington DC
On 26 October 2013, the 12th anniversary of the signing of the US Patriot Act, thousands of people gathered to rally against NSA surveillance. The rally was held by Stop Watching Us, a coalition of more than 100 organisations, who collected more than 575,000 signatures for its petition to the US Congress demanding that the NSA be held accountable for its actions and to reform the laws enabling government surveillance.
During the rally boxes of signed petitions were handed over to Congress and the crowd marched to the Capitol building. Jesselyn Radack, National Security and Human Rights Director of the Government Accountability Project, read out a statement written by Edward Snowden. Numerous others spoke at the event, including Congressman Justin Amash, former NSA executive and whistleblower Thomas Drake, security researcher Bruce Schneier and former Congressman Dennis Kucinich.
The Stop Watching Us campaign’s letter to Congress has attracted more than 575,000 signatures so far. It calls for Congress to reveal the full extent of the NSA spying programmes, and to:
- 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;
- 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;
- Hold accountable those public officials who are found to be responsible for this unconstitutional surveillance.
Read more and add your name to the letter here: Stop Watching Us.