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Millions to Watch President's Surveillance Speech Will Not Be Placated by Cosmetic Reforms to Spying Regime, Day of Activism Planned on Feb. 11

January 16, 2014 | Telepresence Options


Washington D.C. - Demand Progress, a 1.5 million member civil liberties advocacy organization which has helped lead the fight against NSA abuses, today released the below statement from executive director David Segal, in advance of an expected Friday announcement from President Obama related to the global spying regime.

Demand Progress is spearheading February 11th's "The Day We Fight Back" day of activism against mass surveillance, in which a number of major websites and organizations-such as Mozilla, reddit, and the Electronic Frontier Foundation-have already committed to participate.� Details are available at

"President Obama will announce tomorrow what recommendations he will accept from his own handpicked review board. While we welcome the president's acknowledgement that reforms must be made, we warn the president not to expect thunderous applause for cosmetic reforms. We demand more than the illusion of reform. We demand the change promised; the restoration of civil liberties and America's place as a moral leader in the world.

"Real reform requires not just more transparency, but an end to mass collection of so-called "meta-data," an adversarial process in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, and additional constraints on the collection of communications of Americans' and citizens of other countries.

"This is not a debate the president wanted. This is a debate that was thrust on him by public outcry when the extent of the global spying regime was revealed. Protestors, organizers, political leaders forced this administration to conduct a review. These reviewers were handpicked by this administration and their recommendations have not been endorsed by the public at large. We urge the president to recognize that the public concern is not only over whether mass spying programs are explicitly abused, within standards set by the NSA, but whether these programs should exist at all- whether they are fundamentally compatible with the notion that we live in a free society, a democracy.

"We eagerly await the president's announcement. However, we offer fair warning: Neither Demand Progress's members, nor millions of other Americans, will be placated by a whitewash that revamps the image of the global spying regime but does not offer serious reforms. Any attempt to hoodwink the American people would be a betrayal of our trust and a betrayal of the president's campaign promises."

Those who are dissatisfied by the reforms offered by President Obama and who want to participate in, or want more information about, February 11th's "The Day We Fight Back" are encouraged to visit

For interviews, please contact Christina DiPasquale at 202.716.1953 or [email protected].

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