By now, pretty much everybody has heard that the U.S. National Security Agency is indiscriminately collecting private information about all Americans who use a major U.S. phone company — including the phone numbers of both parties to any call involving a person in the United States. And the NSA is collecting buddy lists, monitoring email traffic, and gathering an untold-but-vast amount of other data from millions of people around the world. Stunning new revelations about this surveillance keep emerging; just this afternoon, German Chancellor Angela Merkel called President Barack Obama to complain about reports that the United States may have tapped her mobile phone. (The White House refused to comment on past snooping, stating only that the U.S. government doesn’t currently listen to Merkel’s calls, and won’t do so in the future.)
A broad coalition called StopWatching.us has brought together over 100 public advocacy organizations and companies from across the ideological spectrum to educate lawmakers and the public about these mass surveillance programs. The Competitive Enterprise Institute, the sponsor of this blog, is a member of the coalition. And over 500,000 people have signed the StopWatching.us petition. On Saturday, October 26, StopWatching.us is hosting a rally in Washington, D.C., in front of Union Station, to protest the mass surveillance programs. Go here for more details.
Meanwhile, check out this new Electronic Frontier Foundation-produced video, which features Maggie Gyllenhaal, Oliver Stone, John Cusack, Wil Wheaton, Rep. John Conyers Jr., and Phil Donahue speaking out against mass surveillance by the NSA: