17 Jan 2014

Stars and civil liberties groups condemn NSA spying

Hollywood actors join civil liberties groups in protests against the National Security Agency’s surveillance activities, writes Inigo Gilmore.

The backdrop to President Obama’s speech about changes to the government’s surveillance operations saw protests by civil liberties groups and an online campaign by Hollywood stars demanding that the NSA stop spying on Americans.

One of those who joined the anti-NSA campaign was activist Sue Udry (see video above), who told Channel 4 News that President Obama’s speech “opened a door” to reforms but criticised his statement for being vague and not going far enough.

Last October more than 100 public-interest groups organised a rally in Washington DC, called Stop Watching Us.

At the time protesters called for a congressional investigation into the NSA spy programmes.

Oliver Stone, Maggie Gyllenhaal, John Cusack and Phil Donahue were among the star-studded Hollywood cast that released a new public service announcement demanding the NSA stop spying on Americans.

“Everybody is at risk for getting caught up in the NSA dragnet,” Stone says in the video. “History tells us we need to watch the watchers.”

“It was wrong then, and it’s wrong now,” Cusack says. “The tools for surveillance have never been more powerful and the threat to our civil liberties has never been greater.”