Advocacy groups say NSA threatens free speech

The National Security Agency (NSA) says it needs its gargantuan surveillance network to defend against terrorism, but in reality the spying goes far beyond seeking information about foreign threats by invading citizens’ private lives on a “breathtaking scale.” (Electronic Freedom Foundation, November 11, 2013, by Trevor Timm)

The EFF said the NSA surveillance threatens free speech of advocacy groups who are leery of  expressing dissenting views with the knowledge that NSA is recording every phone call, the identify of those in conversation, the date and duration of the call. The EFF is suing the government in support of 22 advocacy groups including the Council on American-Islamic Relations, concerned that in defending someone they think is falsely accused may themselves be accused of espionage in abetting terrorists.  (Courthouse News Service, November 7, 2013, by Jack Bouboushian)

A writers’ group also reported that a majority of its members were upset by the news that NSA was monitoring e-mails and phone records. Pen American Center said that writers have either avoided or considered avoiding controversial topics. Five hundred and twenty eight out of 6,000 members participated in the online survey. (The New York Times, November 11, 2013, by Noam Cohen)