For Immediate Release: 18 December 2013
Contact: Christina DiPasquale, 202.716.1953, Christina@fitzgibbonmedia.com
Read Letter to Congress Here
Today, ThoughtWorks, a global technology firm, joined more than 50 organizations in an open letter to Congress opposing the FISA Improvements Act sponsored by Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and issued the following statement:
“The recent federal judge’s ruling that the National Security Agency’s phone surveillance program is likely unconstitutional under the Fourth Amendment is the latest confirmation that mass surveillance is incompatible with a democratic society,” said Joanna Parke, Managing Director of ThoughtWorks in North America. “Meaningful legislative reform is urgently needed in many countries, but the FISA Improvements Act falls unacceptably short of the mark by actually codifying practices that undermine constitutional and human rights. Dragnet surveillance is destroying the trust that enabled the global internet to drive unprecedented levels of efficiency, engagement and innovation and it must be unconditionally ended.”
The letter to House and Senate Leadership strongly opposing the FISA Improvements Act was signed by ThoughtWorks and over 50 civil liberties groups and other organizations advancing the public interest, including the Electronic Frontier Foundation, American Civil Liberties Union, reddit and CREDO Mobile.
Dear Members of Congress,
As civil liberties groups and other organizations advancing the public interest, we write this letter today to strongly urge you to oppose S. 1631, the FISA Improvements Act. The FISA Improvements Act does not offer real reform to stop the NSA’s mass collection of our communications and communications records. Instead, S. 1631 seeks to entrench some of the worst forms of NSA surveillance into US law and to extend the NSA surveillance programs in unprecedented ways.
If the FISA Improvements Act were to pass, the NSA would continue to collect telephone records of hundreds of millions of Americans not suspected of any crime. This is a violation of Americans’ privacy and Constitutional rights. Multiple polls, including a September 2013 Associated Press poll, consistently show a strong majority of the American people opposing such programs.
Furthermore, the bill seeks to permit the NSA to restart the bulk collection of Internet communication records—an extremely invasive, secret program the government attempted under dubious legal ground but abandoned because it wasn’t effective.
The NSA mass surveillance programs already sweep up data about millions of people daily. This shadow of surveillance chills freedom of speech, undermines confidence in US Internet companies, and runs afoul of the Constitution.
Please champion real reform to end these programs and oppose S. 1631, which would codify and expand them.
Advocacy for Principled Action in Government
AIDS Policy Project
American Civil Liberties Union
American Library Association
Arab American Institute
Bill of Rights Defense Committee
Brennan Center for Justice at NYU Law School
Campaign for Liberty
Center for Democracy and Technology
Center for Rights
Charity & Security Network
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW)
The Constitution Project
Council on American-Islamic Relations
Cyber Privacy Project
Defending Dissent Foundation
Electronic Frontier Foundation
F2C: Freedom to Connect
Fight for the Future
Free Press Action Fund
Free Software Foundation
Freedom of the Press Foundation
Government Accountability Project
Human Rights Watch
InFo – The Foundation for Innovation and Internet Freedom
Media Mobilizing Project
Montgomery County Civil Rights Coalition
National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
National Coalition Against Censorship
New America Foundation’s Open Technology Institute
Participatory Politics Foundation
PEN American Center
Privacy Rights Clearinghouse
Progressive Change Campaign Committee
Project On Government Oversight
The Rutherford Institute
cc: Members of the House and Senate Judiciary and Intelligence Committees