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JameelJaffer1216 karma

Here's a partial answer to this question for the Americans out there: a few provisions of the USA Patriot Act are scheduled to sunset in June. Congress has to consider, between now and then, whether to reauthorize the provisions, amend them, or let them expire. You should make sure your representatives in Congress know that you want some commonsense limits to be imposed on the NSA's surveillance activities.

JameelJaffer667 karma

Two official review groups--the PCLOB and the PRG--looked at classified information and concluded that the call-records program was ineffective. On your other point, I think it's absurd that government employees are barred from reading things that everyone else can read.

JameelJaffer359 karma

Also, perhaps refer them to this Human Rights Watch / ACLU report, which documents the way that government surveillance is already inhibiting journalism that's crucial to open societies. http://www.hrw.org/reports/2014/07/28/liberty-monitor-all-0

JameelJaffer348 karma

Hi everyone. I'm Jameel Jaffer from the ACLU. Looking forward to the questions. A real honor to be here with Ed Snowden.

JameelJaffer343 karma

Just to add a couple more points, I think there's broad agreement that the government has a legitimate interest in monitoring the communications of suspected terrorists. This kind of dragnet surveillance, though, constitutes a gross invasion of the privacy of innocent people, and it will inevitably have a chilling effect on the freedoms of speech and inquiry. (There is some evidence that the NSA’s surveillance activities are already having this effect.) We don’t think the NSA should be looking over innocent people’s shoulders when they’re surfing the web. I should emphasize that the NSA’s practice is to retain communications that include “foreign-intelligence information,” a term that is defined so broadly as to include, for example, any information relating to the foreign affairs of the United States. No one should be under the misimpression that the NSA is interested in collecting information about terrorism and nothing else. Former NSA director Michael Hayden has been forthcoming about this. He said recently: “NSA doesn't just listen to bad people. NSA listens to interesting people. People who are communicating information.” We would like the NSA's surveillance activities to be more narrowly focused on individuals who are actually and reasonably thought to present threats.