Today, Mozilla, the maker of the popular web browser Firefox, is launching a campaign against digital surveillance. They launched a new website today, and is asking users of the web to unite, in similar fashion as we did with SOPA, so we can take a stand.
The website Mozilla launched today is StopWatching.Us. From the site, it says it’s “a campaign sponsored by a broad coalition of organizations from across the political and technical spectrum calling on citizens and organizations from around the world to demand a full accounting of the extent to which our online data, communications and interactions are being monitored.”
Well, I am in full support of that. And as Mozilla points out, there is a lot at stake here – our privacy. Much of our personal and private online lives are within our control. For example, we can use sites that don’t track your activity like DuckDuckGo or use privacy browser addons like Collusion, but when the government steps in, that is out of our control. But it’s time we take a stand, and take back our control.
In the StopWatching.Us campaign website, much like with SOPA, it’s an online webform that you can fill out, which will generate a letter to Members of Congress, laying out our concerns, as citizens, of the recent NSA PRISM disclosures. It will also be a call to action to halt this surveillance and provide a full public accounting of the NSA’s and the FBI’s data collection programs.
Here is the full letter below. After reading, please go to StopWatching.Us and sign it so you can take back your privacy.
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 career intelligence officer 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 and guard against unreasonable searches and seizures that 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.