Activists Assail Culture of Government Spying

     (CN) – Secret surveillance programs comparable to that of the National Security Agency recently brought to light by Edward Snowden must come to an end, according to a petition signed by more than 100 organizations from 40 countries.
     The International Principles on the Application of Human Rights to Communication Surveillance outlines 13 principles that dictate how human rights laws apply to modern digital surveillance.
     Privacy International Access and the Electronic Frontier Foundation are among more than 100 groups that signed the petition announced Wednesday.
     The principles include advice to world leaders on how surveillance laws should respect due process and promote transparency.
     “It’s time to restore human rights to their place at the very heart of the surveillance debate,” EFF International Director Danny O’Brien said in a statement. “But the mass metadata collected in the U.S. surveillance program, for example, makes it extraordinarily easy for the government to track what groups we associate with and why we might contact them.”
     The petition comes after the American Civil Liberties Union filed suit against the Justice Department regarding an NSA data-collecting program that Edward Snowden brought to light in June.
     The NSA’s “dragnet” collection of phone records for the secret surveillance program is unconstitutional and must be stopped, the ACLU claims.
     O’Brien said the public’s reaction to the NSA’s practices represents a “global consensus that modern surveillance has gone too far and must be restrained.”
     The EFF is a civil liberties group focused on human rights in the digital age.
     Oral arguments in the ACLU’s case begin Nov. 1.

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