Human rights groups across the globe are urging Congress to investigate and place new controls on the US National Security Agency’s communications surveillance programs. The broad coalition, which includes CDT and over 160 other organizations and individuals, highlights how the NSA’s surveillance activities not only threaten Americans’ constitutional rights but also the human rights of everyone.
In the wake of this month’s revelations about the NSA’s mass collection of phone records and its mysterious “PRISM” system for collecting Internet communications, advocates around the world are protesting the US government’s actions and calling particular attention to the way the NSA’s program affects US citizens and non-US citizens alike. As we noted last week, the NSA’s surveillance activities threaten the free expression and privacy rights of everyone who uses the Internet. And, with reports that other countries are circumventing their own limitations on surveilling their citizens by making data requests to the US government, it’s clear that the consequences of the NSA’s activities are varied and far-reaching.
The coalition letter follows on from last week’s joint statement to the UN Human Rights Council, which urged that body to examine this case and state surveillance efforts generally for their impact on human rights. The coalition, which includes CDT, similarly calls on Congress to support the creation of an independent panel to review US practices and make recommendations to safeguard the privacy and free expression rights of all Internet users worldwide.