Dissent and Surveillance

Dissent and Surveillance Overview

January 26, 2012

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USA vs. NSA Music Video by BORDC's Shahid Buttar

June 12, 2014

A music video by the Bill of Rights Defense Committee's (BORDC) Shahid Buttar gives a history on National Security Agency (NSA) surveillance set a beat. The rap covers the early days of U.S. surveillance up to the current dragnet operated by the NSA. The catchy song calls for Americans to take a stand against the unconstiutional spying: 

"We can force any agency to make a new choice / when we build a movement, each raising our voice"

NSA surveillance impacts individuals and non-profits. Bulk data collection of phone records allows the government to see networks and relationships between people contacting each other over the phone. This can create a chilling impact that impairs the freedom of association guaranteed by the First Amendment. This type of surveillance is the subject of the lawsuit First Unitarian Church v. NSA

First Unitarian Church of Los Angeles v. National Security Agency: Nonprofit Lawsuit Against the NSA

June 5, 2014

The Director of National Intelligence first confirmed Edward Snowden’s disclosure of the unconstitutional practice of collection of “metadata” by the National Security Agency (NSA) on June 6, 2013.  Twenty-two nonprofit organizations (NPOs) filed an amended complaint, on September 10, 2013, against NSA

Letter from Civil Society Groups Objects to NSA Surveillance of Human Rights Groups

April 24, 2014

On April 8, 2014 NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden said the National Security Agency (NSA) and a UK government agency have “without question” targeted human right organizations for surveillance, including “leaders or staff members in a number of purely civil of human right organizations…including domestically, within the borders of the United States.”  In response, on April 18 a group of 51 civil soci

Snowden: NSA Spied on Human Rights Nonprofits

April 8, 2014

Speaking before the Council of Europe, whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed that the National Security Agency (NSA) has spied on human rights defender groups such as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International. "The NSA has targeted leaders and staff members of these sorts of organizations, including domestically within the borders of the United States," said Snowden. He said that the NSA uses sophisticated technology store and track "trillions" of electronic communications, such as emails and online chats. 

This kind of surveillance is a serious concern for nonprofit organizations, particularly those focused on promoting human rights in dangerous regions. It can create a chilling effect that makes it even more difficult for nonprofits to carry out their good works. 

The Charity & Security Network is party to a lawsuit against the NSA's bulk data collection in the U.S.

Fight Back Against Mass Surveillance

February 11, 2014

A coalition of non-profits, private companies, and other opponents of the NSA's spying regime declare Tuesday, February 11 a day to fight back against mass surveillance.  Participants including Access, GreenPeace, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and Mozilla, will join potentially millions of Internet users to pressure lawmakers to end mass surveillance.  Everyone is encouraged to contact their representatives, sign a petition, and attend one of the special events scheduled for today in 17 cities across the globe.

"Since the first revelations last summer, hundreds of thousands of Internet users have come together online and offline to protest the NSA’s unconstitutional surveillance programs. These programs attack our basic rights to connect and communicate in private, and strike at the foundations of democracy itself. Only a broad movement of activists, organizations and companies can convince Washington to restore these rights,” Josh Levy of Free Press, said.

Nonprofit Groups’ Lawsuit Challenging NSA Spying Set for April 2014 Hearing

January 30, 2014

The lawsuit filed in 2013 by 24 nonprofit groups that is challenging the National Security Agency’s (NSA) bulk collection of their communications data is moving forward, with a hearing set for April 25, 2014 in the federal district court in Oakland, CA.  Attorneys at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which represents the nonprofits, filed a response to the government fileing a motion to

National Security Letters in Foreign Intelligence Investigations

January 20, 2014


A Jan. 3, 2014 Congressional Research Service (CRS) report details the history, legal ramifications, and recommended changes to the current use of National Security Letters (NSLs). NSLs are an investigative tool used mainly by the FBI to collect information such as bank, telephone and email records. Concerns about the broad use of NSLs prompted the Inspector General to release three reports between 2007 and 2010, criticizing the FBI’s casual use of the letters as well as a lack of judicial review.


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