Monday, June 17, 2013

Stop Watching Us

I apologize for the very brief posting this morning.  

A website called "Stop Watching Us" (alternatively termed Stop Watching US) asks us all to sign a petition demanding that the United States government stop spying on citizens of all nations through actions taken by the National Security Agency.  Stop Watching Us was formed last week by a coalition of civil liberties groups and has been backed by a "who's who" of freedom and privacy-based organizations including Electronic Frontier Foundation and Greenpeace USA.

The United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted on the 10th of December, 1948 states the following in Article 12:

"No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks."

The Commission was made up of 18 members from various backgrounds and the UDHR Drafting Committee was charred by Eleanor Roosevelt, widow of American President Franklin D. Roosevelt.  Obviously, at that time, the designers could not possibly have anticipated the degree to which governments can interfere with our privacy.

Here is an excerpt from the letter sent to the U.S. Congress by Stop Watching Us:

"We are calling on Congress to take immediate action to halt this surveillance and provide a full public accounting of the NSA's and the FBI's data collection programs. We call on Congress to immediately and publicly:

1. Enact reform this Congress to Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act, the state secrets privilege, and the FISA Amendments Act to make clear that blanket surveillance of the Internet activity and phone records of any person residing in the U.S. is prohibited by law and that violations can be reviewed in adversarial proceedings before a public court;
2. Create a special committee to investigate, report, and reveal to the public the extent of this domestic spying. This committee should create specific recommendations for legal and regulatory reform to end unconstitutional surveillance;
3. Hold accountable those public officials who are found to be responsible for this unconstitutional surveillance."

Thus far, over 195,000 people have signed the petition and, from the brief time I spent on the website, it was growing very, very rapidly.  It's obvious that there is a lot of anger out there.


  1. This is a good idea however I doubt the gubment will listen unless that petition ends up with at least 100 million signatures. What's a few hundred thousands, or even 2 million protest signatures when you consider the size of the USA (over 300 million citizens)?

    Then if they tell you they will back out of surveillance, it will probably be a lie anyways!

  2. Many people would say that Governments spying on their citizens appears to have become a global phenomena, but is it? It sounds like many of the countries in Europe find the revelations of the America government collecting and sifting through "metadata" as somewhat distasteful. It should be pointed out that Europe also shares many of the same problems with terrorist attacks that we in America face. With all the noise we are easily distracted from the crux of the issue, whether this program needs to exist, and if the mind boggling amount of money being spent on collecting and saving mountains of data could be put to better use. My recent post on the subject can be found below,

  3. Unbelievable. You want America to be free from terrorists, yet you complain and bitch about your rights when the administration does things like this to monitor possible threats from our home turf. You what that they peruse your conversations and info. If you have nothing to hide, then you have no reason to complain. As for me, they can scan all they want and I hope this shit goes through. I think they should scan everything out there. The most recent threats to America came in from people living in it's borders, using it's resources including all data and electronic communication.

    1. By allowing the right to privacy to be abolished, we as citizens are putting those who govern us in a position to easily track ANYBODY who goes against ANYTHING the government says. No human institution/government ought to be trusted with that much POWER. Because after all,
      "Power tends to corrupt. Absolute power corrupts absolutely." Lord Acton

      Let's learn from the past.