Government spying on law-abiding public figures is "tearing apart the fabric of our democracy," says OpenMedia following bombshell revelations from journalists Glenn Greenwald and Murtaza Hussain that exposed extensive government spying on public figures, including a political candidate, a civil rights activist, lawyers, and academics.
Greenwald and Hussain exposed how the NSA spied extensively on the private lives of prominent public figures in the American-Muslim community. The NSA targeted over 7,400 email addresses for in-depth surveillance, including Faisal Gill, a former Navy officer who stood as a candidate for the U.S. Republican Party in Virginia and worked in the George W. Bush White House; Rutgers University Professor Hooshang Amirahmadi; and and Nihad Awad, the head of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the largest Muslim-American civil rights group in the U.S.
"[The] revelations prove what we’ve long suspected - that our spy agencies are running hugely invasive and reckless surveillance operations against their own citizens,” says OpenMedia's Executive Director, Steve Anderson. “This kind of spying tears at the very fabric of our democracy and we’re already seeing how it can affect law-abiding citizens in their daily lives.
The news comes on the heels of recent revelations from the Washington Post, which showed that NSA spying operations intercept far more data from innocent people than from targeted individuals.
"Clearly government spying operations are out-of-control and must be reined in," he Anderson added.
In Canada the government is in the midst of ramming through Bill C-13, legislation that would increase warrantless surveillance of innocent Canadians (which the Supreme Court has just said is likely unconstitutional).
"There are reports of sensitive private information being collected on law-abiding Canadians without their knowledge and then distributed to employers without their consent," says Anderson. "This is a daily concern for many people now."