In a letter to members of Congress, NCAC and other civil society groups, companies and investors call for a complete overhaul of government surveillance. The letter demands transparency and oversight ahead of a U.S. Senate Judiciary hearing on 21 November on “Oversight of U.S. government surveillance authorities.”

The letter is addressed to ranking members of the U.S. House and Senate as well as to leaders of the Committee on the Judiciary and Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.


The full text of the letter follows: 

November 21, 2013

We the undersigned civil society groups, trade associations, companies and investors are supporters of the free and open Internet. We are writing to urge that intelligence surveillance practices be reformed by limiting the scope of surveillance and by substantially enhancing the privacy protections, oversight, and accountability mechanisms that govern that surveillance.

Recent disclosures regarding intelligence surveillance activity raise important concerns about the privacy and security of communications. This surveillance has already eroded trust that is essential to the free flow of information and to the exercise of human rights and civil liberties both in the United States and around the world.

To rebuild trust, we urge that the U.S. government act expeditiously to:

• allow companies to be much more transparent about the number and type of surveillance demands they receive;

• be much more transparent itself about the surveillance demands it makes, the surveillance activities in which it engages, and the legal bases for both;

• focus intelligence collection on terrorists, spies and other agents of foreign powers, rather than on everyone else; and

• ensure that its surveillance practices honor both Constitutional and human rights.

Toward this end, we welcome introduction in the House and Senate of the USA FREEDOM Act – legislation which promotes these goals. We oppose legislation that codifies sweeping bulk collection activities. We look forward to working with you on the USA FREEDOM Act and other legislation designed to protect the privacy of Internet users while permitting appropriately targeted intelligence surveillance necessary to protect against terrorism.


Nonprofit Organizations
Advocacy for Principled Action in Government
AIDS Policy Project
American Association of Law Libraries
American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression
American Library Association
American Civil Liberties Union
Arab American Institute
Association of Research Libraries
Center for Democracy and Technology
Center for Financial Privacy and Human Rights
Center for National Security Studies
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington
Coalition Against Unsolicited E-mail
Competitive Enterprise Institute
The Constitution Project
Consumer Action
Council on American-Islamic Relations
Cyber Privacy Project
Defending Dissent Foundation
Demand Progress
Electronic Frontier Foundation First Amendment Coalition Freedom House Free Press Action Fund
Freedom of the Press Foundation
Freedom to Read Foundation
Foundation for Innovation and Internet Freedom
Global Network Initiative
Government Accountability Project
Human Rights Watch
Liberty Coalition
Open Technology Institute
National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
National Coalition Against Censorship
National Security Counselors
Public Knowledge Personal Democracy Media
Project on Government Oversight
Reporters Without Borders
Republican Liberty Caucus
Rutherford Institute
Texas Liberty Foundation
World Press Freedom Committee

Companies and Trade Organizations
Automattic Inc. CloudFlare
Computer and Communications Industry Assoc.
CREDO Mobile
Data Foundry
Golden Frog
Hewlett-Packard Company
Internet Infrastructure Coalition
NY Tech Meetup


Domini Social Investments
New Atlantic Ventures