CAIR Action Alert: Tell the president and Congress to stop spying on your phone calls and Internet usage
(WASHINGTON, D.C., 7/31/2013) -- CAIR is calling on all Americans concerned about privacy rights to contact their elected official and demand that they address new revelation of warrantless government spying.
Today it was revealed in documents leaked by whistleblower Edward Snowden that the National Security Agency (NSA) is running a secret spying program that allows analysts to "to search with no prior authorization through vast databases containing emails, online chats and the browsing histories of millions of individuals," as reported by the Guardian newspaper.
Training materials on the newly revealed NSA program, dubbed XKeyscore, claim that authorities can track "nearly everything a typical user does on the internet," in real-time, needing only an email or IP address. Information obtained by NSA analysts through XKeyscore’s program search fields include emails, address books, buddy lists, internet browser histories, cookies, and the content of Facebook chats or private messages.
IMMEDIATE ACTION REQUESTED:
CAIR has provided a "click and send" letter for all Americans to call on Congress and the President to demand an immediate end to these abusive and unconstitutional government spying programs.
Among other requests, CAIR’s letter urges Congress to amend Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act, the state secrets privilege, and the FISA Amendments Act to ensure that the unwarranted surveillance of Internet activity and phone records from citizens residing in the United States is illegal and to guarantee that violations would be reviewed in a public court.
In June, the Guardian and Washington Post revealed that the NSA, in cooperation with the FBI, is covertly carrying out two other nationwide surveillance programs which collect large volumes of data on the private calls and online activities of U.S. citizens and non-permanent residents alike while targeting foreign nationals under surveillance.
Through secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) orders the federal government is obtaining, without any probable cause or suspicion of wrongdoing, data from millions of American Verizon Business Network Services customers and user account information without individual warrants from Google, Yahoo!, Facebook, Microsoft (Hotmail, etc.), Apple, PalTalk, YouTube, Skype and AOL.
While it is reported that stored data collected under these programs cannot be accessed by national security or law enforcement until it becomes relevant to an investigation of a foreign target, once relevant, communications between non-citizens and American citizens, family, friends, academic colleagues, or business partners can become part of a larger investigation.
The White House claims that these separate domestic spying programs are designed to only target "non-U.S. persons outside the U.S." and "minimize .. acquired information about U.S. persons." Rights groups however question these programs less than stringent standards to protect against unconstitutional privacy breaches. For example, PRISM program safeguards for reviewing collected data are only "designed to produce at least 51 percent confidence in a target's 'foreignness.'"
CAIR has expressed serious concerns over this foreignness test. It remains unclear to the public who in the NSA or FBI ultimately decides what constitutes "foreignness" and whether or not discriminatory criteria, such as national origin or religion, are being used in these assessments. CAIR also contends that if there is only a 51 percent "certainty" that the targets of surveillance are foreign, that leaves a 49 percent chance of "incidental collection" from American citizens.
On July 16, CAIR announced that it has joined 18 other advocacy groups in a lawsuit against the NSA’s warrantless surveillance program that collects, stores, searches, and analyzes the phone records of millions of innocent Americans.
CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.