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Mozilla and 41 privacy groups getting their war on over NSA surveillance flap

Mark Sullivan | June 12, 2013
The group has launched a website (Stopwatching.me) and a petition, and has sent letters to both houses of Congress calling for a full investigation of the surveillance policies of the National Security Agency (NSA).

Microsoft added its voice, as well. "Permitting greater transparency on the aggregate volume and scope of national security requests, including FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) orders, would help the community understand and debate these important issues," the company said in a statement, according to Reuters.

ACLU files suit
Separately, the ACLU swung into action on the issue today, announcing a lawsuit that it's filing against the NSC on behalf of Verizon. The suite is a "constitutional challenge to a surveillance program under which the National Security Agency vacuums up information about every phone call placed within, from, or to the United States," the ACLU said in a statement. The lawsuit argues that the program violates the First Amendment rights of free speech and association as well as the right of privacy protected by the Fourth Amendment.

As it turns out, ACLU is a customer of Verizon Business Services, so it naturally didn't much like the idea of the NSA having carte blanche access to its calls over the Verizon network. So the ACLU decided to to do what the ACLU does best-file suit.

Senate bill announced
While the privacy activists are just now mobilizing, the repercussions of the NSC surveillance revelations of last week are already showing up in the Congress. Today eight senators introduced a bill that would put an end to the "secret law" governing controversial government surveillance programs. The bill would require the Attorney General to declassify significant Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) opinions, allowing Americans to know how broad of a legal authority the government is claiming to spy on Americans under the PATRIOT Act and Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

"Americans deserve to know how much information about their private communications the government believes it's allowed to take under the law," bill sponsor Senator Jeff Merkley (D-Oregon) said in a statement today.

 

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