29 October 2013

Amnesty supports legislation to end U.S. mass surveillance program

In light of recent relevations regarding the U.S. National Security Agency's mass surveillance program, Amnesty International announced its support of the proposed USA Freedom Act, introduced today, which would limit the NSA's spying authority.

Zeke Johnson, Director of Amnesty International USA's Security with Human Rights campaign, explained that excessive surveillance is a threat to each person's right to privacy and self-expression. "Finally," he said, "Congress has introduced a bill to reform the NSA mass surveillance program that everyone should support. It's not perfect, but it is an important step in the right direction and Congress should pass it."

In a news release today, Amnesty described the favorable and not-so-favorable components of the Act:

"Particularly notable are: the bill's creation of an Office of the Special Advocate, with strong authority to take part in cases and appeal them; an opening for the participation of amici curiae; and new requirements of disclosures of the courts' opinions. Also positive are requirements throughout the bill of greater reporting on what kind of surveillance is used and how many people are affected.

"However, Amnesty International is deeply concerned that the bill retains discriminatory distinctions between the rights of U.S. citizens and non-citizens. Any final solution to the mass surveillance program must uphold the rights of all people equally without distinction based on national origin or other discriminatory factors."

For now, we'll take what we can get. But we must keep on fighting for our rights and liberties.

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