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Stop Watching Us

Stop Watching Us
Dear Members of Congress, We write to express our concern about recent reports published in the Guardian and the Washington Post, and acknowledged by the Obama Administration, which reveal secret spying by the National Security Agency (NSA) on phone records and Internet activity of people in the United States. The Washington Post and the Guardian recently published reports based on information provided by an intelligence contractor showing how the NSA and the FBI are gaining broad access to data collected by nine of the leading U.S. Internet companies and sharing this information with foreign governments. As reported, the U.S. government is extracting audio, video, photographs, e-mails, documents, and connection logs that enable analysts to track a person's movements and contacts over time. As a result, the contents of communications of people both abroad and in the U.S. can be swept in without any suspicion of crime or association with a terrorist organization.

Related:  NSA / PrismCitizen reactions

Is the NSA surveillance program really about spying on environmentalists? At the Guardian, Nafeez Ahmed, executive director of the Institute for Policy Research & Development, has an idea about what might be driving the massive expansion of the NSA’s domestic surveillance program that we’ve learned so much about lately. It’s not concerns about religious fundamentalists who hate America. Instead, he suggests, the government is worried about environmental activism: But why have Western security agencies developed such an unprecedented capacity to spy on their own domestic populations? The US government has betrayed the internet. We need to take it back Government and industry have betrayed the internet, and us. By subverting the internet at every level to make it a vast, multi-layered and robust surveillance platform, the NSA has undermined a fundamental social contract. The companies that build and manage our internet infrastructure, the companies that create and sell us our hardware and software, or the companies that host our data: we can no longer trust them to be ethical internet stewards. This is not the internet the world needs, or the internet its creators envisioned. We need to take it back. And by we, I mean the engineering community.

Why Privacy Matters Even if You Have 'Nothing to Hide' - The Chronicle Review By Daniel J. Solove When the government gathers or analyzes personal information, many people say they're not worried. "I've got nothing to hide," they declare. "Only if you're doing something wrong should you worry, and then you don't deserve to keep it private." The nothing-to-hide argument pervades discussions about privacy. Tech expert urges Americans to 'quit Google, Facebook' over NSA surveillance revelations (NaturalNews) In light of revelations that the federal government's massive spy apparatus has been unleashed on its own citizens, some tech experts are now advising users of social media and other Internet-based sites that have helped Uncle Sam pry into your life to stop using them altogether. While I do utilize +Google (+J.D. Heyes) to share my views and help market NaturalNews (we are a web-based publication, after all), I quit using sites like MySpace (remember that one?) and Facebook years ago when I became convinced they were gathering my personal data for later use against me. Turns out that my suspicions weren't so kooky and conspiratorial after all.

3 More Countries That Hate the United States Thanks to the NSA While a certain level of international espionage is to be expected amongst countries without concrete relationships, should the same go for nations that are longtime allies? Thanks to the oft-maligned NSA, the United States is learning the hard way that invading your friends’ privacy is bound to blow up in your face. Recently, three trusted allies of the United States have discovered that they aren’t so trusted after all. Ontario Privacy Watchdog Is Not Amused With The NSA (VIDEO) Ontario's privacy watchdog delivered a scathing indictment of the NSA's efforts to circumvent internet encryption standards. Ann Cavoukian, Ontario's Information and Privacy Commissioner, released a YouTube video Friday after The New York Times, in collaboration with The Guardian and ProPublica, reported that the U.S. National Security Agency has successfully "circumvented or cracked much of the encryption, or digital scrambling, that guards global commerce and banking systems, protects sensitive data like trade secrets and medical records, and automatically secures the e-mails, Web searches, Internet chats and phone calls of Americans and others around the world." Cavoukian takes issue with governments devoting so many resources to getting around encryption.

NSA Prism program taps in to user data of Apple, Google and others The National Security Agency has obtained direct access to the systems of Google, Facebook, Apple and other US internet giants, according to a top secret document obtained by the Guardian. The NSA access is part of a previously undisclosed program called Prism, which allows officials to collect material including search history, the content of emails, file transfers and live chats, the document says. The Guardian has verified the authenticity of the document, a 41-slide PowerPoint presentation – classified as top secret with no distribution to foreign allies – which was apparently used to train intelligence operatives on the capabilities of the program. The document claims "collection directly from the servers" of major US service providers. Although the presentation claims the program is run with the assistance of the companies, all those who responded to a Guardian request for comment on Thursday denied knowledge of any such program. An Apple spokesman said it had "never heard" of Prism.

Mozilla wants 500 million users to tell government to 'stop watching us' - Wilmington Civil Rights Many companies, including some whose networks are allegedly involved, have condemned the recently revealed National Security Agency (NSA) program PRISM. Mozilla, a company that makes the popular Firefox web browser that has repeatedly taken a firm stance on Internet censorship and surveillance, joined with a variety of activist groups and other sites to found an anti-spying coalition. launched on Tuesday, with the hope of gathering millions of signatures to a petition demanding the United States government stop such massive surveillance on the Internet and hold public officials accountable for these actions. Mozilla is not alone in taking this stance. Reddit, 4Chan, the ACLU, Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), and Campaign for Liberty are among the 86 organizations that co-signed the letter calling upon lawmakers to halt PRISM. also plans on expanding the protest, so it’s not just signatures on a petition.