Surveillance

On June 5, 2013, the Guardian exposed a top-secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court order that requires Verizon to give the National Security Agency records — so-called “metadata” — on all telephone calls in its systems.

The next day, the Guardian reported on the PRISM program, which allows the NSA to access millions of users’ emails and Web activity. PRISM and programs like it allow massive collection of communications from people outside the U.S., but they also sweep in domestic data.

The NSA’s spying programs threaten our basic rights to connect, communicate and organize. The First Amendment guarantees freedom of speech and assembly, and the Fourth Amendment guarantees protection from warrantless seizure.

But companies like AT&T, Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Verizon are tracking our phone calls and monitoring our emails, Web chats and other online activity — creating giant databases that are ripe for NSA spying. Worse, some of these companies are colluding with the government in ways that threaten free expression, privacy and the public interest.

The Free Press Action Fund helped found the Stop Watching Us coalition, which launched a petition calling for NSA accountability and legal reforms to protect our privacy. So far more than 580,000 individuals and hundreds of organizations have signed on.

The coalition is urging Congress to form a special committee to investigate and report on the extent of the NSA’s spying. It’s the only way we can find out exactly what’s taking place.

We’re also calling for revisions to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and the Patriot Act so that they explicitly prohibit the blanket surveillance of Internet activity and phone records of U.S. residents.

Momentum for this kind of change is building in Congress. On July 24, a House vote to cut funding for the NSA's phone-record-collection program lost by a narrow margin of 217–205.

Today the Free Press Action Fund supports passage of the USA Freedom Act. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner and Sen. Patrick Leahy’s bill would end the NSA's bulk collection of our phone records and require more oversight and transparency of the agency's surveillance programs. We’re also opposing a bill from Sen. Dianne Feinstein that blesses the NSA's tactics and ignores their unconstitutional nature.

And the public continues to mobilize against NSA spying. On Oct. 26, the Stop Watching Us Coalition held the largest domestic rally against government spying to date. The Rally Against Mass Surveillance drew prominent speakers and thousands of people to Washington, D.C.

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Press Releases

  • Free Press Action Fund Hails Introduction of USA Freedom Act

    October 29, 2013

    WASHINGTON -- On Tuesday, members of Congress introduced the much-anticipated USA Freedom Act. This bipartisan and bicameral legislation would address National Security Agency abuses that have come to light in the last few months.

  • Coalition of 100-Plus Organizations to Hold Largest-Ever Rally Against Mass Surveillance on Patriot Act Anniversary

    September 26, 2013
    WASHINGTON -- As the Senate Judiciary and Intelligence Committees plan upcoming hearings on U.S. surveillance programs and data collection, the StopWatching.Us coalition today announced that it will bring thousands to the nation’s capital to rally against mass surveillance.
  • Free Press Joins Lawsuit to Stop NSA Spying

    July 20, 2013
    WASHINGTON -- On Tuesday, Free Press joined a lawsuit filed by the Electronic Frontier Foundation against the U.S. government over its controversial domestic spying program that collects, stores, searches and analyzes in bulk the telephone records of millions of Americans. The suit alleges that the government is violating the First Amendment right of association by gaining access to the phone records of political and activist organizations and their members.
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News from Around the Web

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    Access to high-speed Internet service — also known as broadband — is a basic public necessity, just like water or electricity.

    Yet despite its importance, broadband access in the United States is far from universal. Millions of Americans still stand on the wrong side of the "digital divide," unable to tap into the political, economic and social resources of the Internet.

  • Cable

    Two decades ago, something unusual happened.

    Consumers were irate about their cable bills, which were increasing at nearly three times the rate of inflation. And Congress actually did something — adopting in overwhelmingly bipartisan fashion the 1992 Cable Act. The law resulted in lower cable bills, saving consumers $3 billion in just over a year’s time.

  • Comcast-Time Warner Cable Merger

    On Feb. 13, Comcast announced its bid to buy its chief rival, Time Warner Cable. If approved, this deal would create a television and Internet colossus like no other.

    Comcast is the country’s #1 cable and Internet company and Time Warner Cable is #2. They both regularly rank at the bottom of the barrel in customer-service surveys. Put them together and you get one subpar giant offering service to two-thirds of U.S. homes.

People + Policy

= Positive Change for the Public Good

people + policy = Positive Change for the Public Good