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Stop Watching Us, Washington DC, 26 October

Stop Watching US protesters, Washington DC

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.

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Index on Censorship: EU leaders: Stop mass surveillance

Using the hashtag #dontspyonme, Index on Censorship has joined forces with 38 other organisations, spanning associations of journalists, human rights groups and freedom of information campaigners, to call on EU leaders and heads of government to take action against the use of mass surveillance programs in European countries. The petition is available to sign in eight languages: English, Russian, Spanish, French, German, Polish, Bulgarian and Estonian.

Read more and sign the petition here: EU leaders: Stop mass surveillance

Stop Watching Us: Letter to Congress

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.

Electronic Frontier Foundation: Demand answers now

When the government was caught spying on American citizens in the 1960s and 70s, Congress created the Church Committee to right the government’s wrongs. Recommendations from that commission resulted in legal reforms that ensured judicial oversight of surveillance programs. Congress must act in a similar fashion and create a 21st Century Church Committee and enact strong legislation to rein in the Executive Branch and protect our communications.

“For far too long, secret law and a secret surveillance state have been a dark shadow on Americans’ freedom. It’s time to shine a light on NSA’s spying.”

Join EFF in calling for a full investigation by emailing Congress today.

If you are based in the US, read more and add your name to the message to Congress here: Massive Spying Program Exposed: Demand Answers Now

If you don’t live in the US, you can take part in EFF’s international action here: It’s Time to Call on US Internet Companies to Demand Accountability and Transparency

We the People: Pardon Edward Snowden

The White House petition calling for President Obama to immediately and unconditionally pardon Edward Snowden for informing the American public about the NSA’s surveillance schemes reached its goal of 100,000 signatures less than two weeks after its launch on 9 June 2013.

The petiton had gained over 168,000 signatures, by the time the White House gave its response almost two years later. The response asserted that Snowden’s actions had caused unspecified “harm” without engaging with the substance of petitioners’ concerns.

Read more here: White House Petition to Pardon Snowden Reaches Goal of 100,000 Signatures

Sign the petition: We the People: Pardon Edward Snowden