On the heels of the revelations regarding the NSA, the Electronic Frontier Foundation – the leading digital rights organization in the U.S. – is demanding a “new Church Committee.” This 1975 commission was chaired by Sen. Frank Church (D-ID), and investigated illegal spying on American citizens by the CIA, the NSA, and other government entities.
Church said at the time:
[The National Security Agency's] capability at any time could be turned around on the American people, and no American would have any privacy left, such is the capability to monitor everything: telephone conversations, telegrams, it doesn’t matter. There would be no place to hide.
In a press release, the EFF said:
Following on the heels of the Guardian reporting that the NSA is collecting all U.S call data records of Verizon customers, the Guardian and Washington Post yesterday reported that nine of the biggest Internet companies, including Facebook, Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft, are also working with the government in a vast spying program, where a massive amount of online data flows to the NSA, all in secret. The revelations not only confirmed what EFF has long alleged, they went even further and honestly, we’re still reeling. EFF will, of course, be continuing its efforts to get this egregious situation addressed by the courts.
This situation has been in place for years, according to Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Dianne Feinstein:
We have debated this several times — more than a dozen times — in the intelligence committee. It has been the subject of judiciary committee hearings. It has been the subject of extended floor debate and votes. There is nothing new in this program. The fact of the matter is, that this was a routine three-month approval under seal that was leaked.