We are a coalition of organizations from across the political spectrum joining forces to fight mass surveillance by the National Security Agency.
We have different missions, different goals, different communities that we represent. However, we all agree that mass surveillance is contrary to freedom and democracy. It must be stopped.
Surveillance that sweeps up the communications of millions of people violates the US Constitution and international law. And collecting records of our communications--whether telephone or Internet communications--paints an intimate portrait of our lives. These types of surveillance trample privacy and chill freedom of speech.
We stand for civil liberties and government transparency, and we're committed to ending mass spying.
We believe that democracy and freedom thrive when Constitutional values and human rights are upheld. We believe all people, regardless of nationality, have a basic right to privacy and freedom of association.
While governments can and do engage in surveillance of specific targets, technological advances have enabled the mass surveillance of everyone using communications technology. But just because it is technically possible does not mean it should be done. Strong laws and policies must put clear limits on the NSA’s surveillance powers to bring it into alignment with both the US Constitution and international law.
We are calling on the United States government to:
Pass strong legislative reform to outlaw mass surveillance, including phone record surveillance and Internet surveillance. This must include a recognition of the privacy rights of non-US citizens.
Reform the FISA court, the secret court that signs off on the NSA’s secret surveillance. FISA court reform includes transparency into any significant or new legal interpretations made by court and ensuring a well-resourced public advocate is in place to argue for privacy rights within the court and seek further review.
Prohibit the NSA from undermining international encryption technologies and standards and hacking into technology companies.
Promote transparency, publish transparency reports, and also give companies rights to publish granular accounts about how companies cooperate with bulk surveillance efforts and the number of user accounts that are affected.
The goal of the congressional scorecard is to raise public awareness about the surveillance debates taking place right now and to create public pressure on individual members of Congress and the president to take significant steps to reform NSA spying in light of the information the public has learned over the past year. We aim to stop any bills that would codify mass surveillance while at the same time bolstering support for meaningful surveillance reform.
We also hope to educate the general public about the extent to which their own elected officials are representing them in pushing for real surveillance reform. Public opinion polls show a majority of Americans believe mass surveillance has gone too far. But to date, Congress has not passed legislation to stop the mass surveillance or even to bring new levels of transparency to the surveillance processes. In fact, some members of Congress are promoting bills that would make cosmetic changes to the law without providing meaningful reform. At the same time, President Obama, who has the authority to end mass spying with an executive order, has made a few key concessions but has chosen not to bring an end to mass, warrantless surveillance.
We believe that people have a right to know whether their members of Congress are doing their jobs and helping to end mass spying. Our scorecard shines a light on all members of Congress, allowing citizens of the Internet to see whether their elected representatives stand as champions or roadblocks to real surveillance reform.
In the wake of the Snowden revelations, dozens of organizations joined together to demand an end to mass spying by the NSA. Here are a few key moments from the last year in which organizations from our movement worked together to push back against bulk surveillance.
June 2013: Dozens of organizations launched Stopwatching.us, a site demanding investigations into NSA surveillance and reform to the law to end the spying. Over 500,000 people signed the petition.
July 2013: Twenty-two organizations joined the Electronic Frontier Foundation in suing the US government for violating the First Amendment rights to freedom of association. Groups included gun rights groups, environmental activists, and groups from across the political spectrum.
That same month, Restore the Fourth organized rallies in defense of the Fourth Amendment in cities across the United States.
Also that month, international privacy, technology, and human rights groups launched the Necessary and Proportionate principles, a guiding framework for countries to apply international human rights law to communications surveillance.
October 2013: Thousands of people rallied against mass spying in Washington DC, on the 12th anniversary of the signing of the Patriot Act.
February 2014: The Day We Fight Back called on people to demand real surveillance reform, inspiring over 89,000 phone calls and over 500,000 emails to Congress in a single day.
June 2014: Companies and organizations joined Fight for the Future to host Reset the Net, a movement promoting security tools to make mass surveillance more difficult and more costly.
July 2014: We launch Stand Against Spying, turning a light on Congress to measure the degree to which each member has taken steps to support meaningful surveillance reform.