“Today, a bipartisan coalition of 86 civil liberties organizations and Internet companies – including the Electronic Frontier Foundation, reddit, Mozilla, FreedomWorks, and the American Civil Liberties Union – are demanding swift action from Congress in light of the recent revelations about unchecked domestic surveillance.
“In an open letter to lawmakers sent today, the groups call for a congressional investigatory committee, similar to the Church Committee of the 1970s. The letter also demands legal reforms to rein in domestic spying and demands that public officials responsible for this illegal surveillance are held accountable for their actions.”
The open letter states:
“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.
I agree with the sentiment of the open letter, but I do not agree that trust in the members of Congress is justified. They belong to those people who are responsible for the unconstitutional surveillance. They therefore would need to investigate themselves – which they will not do. To have real results these investigations must be done by others representing the population who are not connected to these circles.
EDIT: In the original version of this posting I stated “[The W3C is one of the signatories.]” That was not correct. The “World Wide Web Foundation” is one of the signatories. These are different organisations. But there are some relations between the two. For example Tim Berners-Lee is “Founding Director of the World Wide Web Foundation.”