Target: The United States Justice Department and National Counterterrorism Center
Goal: Stop the violation of privacy of innocent Americans and protect the civil liberties granted by the Constitution.
The Wall Street Journal recently uncovered plans for the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) to gain authority over massive amounts of data about millions of innocent American citizens. The Justice Department approved the ability of the NCTC to access data from government databases including “flight records, casino-employee lists, the names of Americans hosting foreign-exchange students and many others” (Angin, Wall Street Journal). In addition, the NCTC is now allowed to keep this information about U.S. citizens for up to five years, and the information can even be shared with foreign governments. In theory, the information is used to analyze patterns of behavior that could be considered suspicious. In practice, however, the behaviors could easily be misconstrued and falsely accuse innocent citizens of illegal activity.
Not only have similar initiatives failed because of baseless suspicions and lack of timely reporting due to huge datasets, but they are also gross violations of Americans’ right to privacy and civil liberties. The newly-granted abilities of the National Counterterrorism Center infringe upon the private lives of citizens who are not suspected of terrorism or any other crime; the NCTC is allowed to do so without any type of warrant or even reasonable suspicion.
This is a despicable, invasive action taken by the United States government without the consent or knowledge of the very citizens it is supposed to protect. By signing the petition below, you are telling the National Counterterrorism Center and the Justice Department to stop the violation of privacy of innocent Americans and protect the civil liberties guaranteed by the Constitution.
Dear National Counterterrorism Center and U.S. Justice Department,
The newly revised guidelines for the National Counterterrorism Center’s access to data about innocent Americans are an appalling invasion of the right to privacy. Citizens did not consent to unknowingly sharing their private information with the NCTC. Citizens did not approve the new ability of the NCTC to keep this information for up to five years. Again, citizens certainly have not granted the NCTC the ability to share such information with foreign governments.
Not only is it unlikely that this new measure will have great success in reprehending terrorists as proven by previous similar initiatives, but it is a clear violation of Americans’ civil liberties. Obviously, it is your duty to defend the American population against terrorist attacks and the like; however, it is also your duty to protect the Constitutional rights of Americans, including the right to privacy. By allowing these new guidelines to take effect, you have failed in fulfilling this duty. We demand that you revoke these new abilities of the NCTC, stop the violation of privacy of innocent Americans, and protect the civil liberties guaranteed by our Constitution.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Victor Habbick via Freedigitalphotos.net