Like many Americans, I’ve been very troubled by the recent news about the NSA’s warrantless surveillance activities. I believe that these searches violate the 4th amendment to the constitution, but more importantly violate the spirit of freedom and privacy that form the foundation of our American values.
Recently, Congressman Justin Amash proposed an amendment in the House to limit the powers of the NSA. The legislation did not pass, but I was pleased to see that my congressman, John Tierney, voted in favor of the amendment.
To show my thanks for voting in favor of the Amash amendment, I decided to send Congressman Tierney a letter. Similar legislation will almost certainly arise in the House (and Senate) in the future, and I want my elected leaders to know that people in Massachusetts care deeply about this issue
If you share my opinion that the NSA has grown too powerful, then consider contacting your congressman and senators. Below is a copy of the letter I wrote to help you get started. Feel free to borrow or copy any portions that will help.
The Honorable John Tierney
2238 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Dear Congressman Tierney:
I want to thank you for your recent vote of “yes” on the amendment proposed by your colleague, Congressman Justin Amash, in favor of curtailing the powers of the National Security Agency to gather mass surveillance data on Americans. As a voter in your district, I am deeply concerned about the unchecked powers of the NSA and, and despite the amendment’s failure to pass, I am pleased to see that you support restricting those powers.
Much has been said about how mass data gathering by the NSA violates our rights under the Fourth Amendment, and I agree with these viewpoints. However, I would also like to call your attention to the economic cost of these activities. A recent survey performed by the Cloud Security Alliance of its non-American members revealed that as a result of the recent revelations about the NSA, 56% of respondents were less likely to perform business with American technology vendors, while 10% had already canceled projects with American tech vendors outright.
As someone who is employed by a technology company based Massachusetts, these results deeply concern me. It proves that not only do we have an obligation to guarantee the Fourth Amendment rights of citizens from the United States, but we must also establish safeguards for people from the rest of the world who do business with American technology companies. Failure to do so will harm the competitiveness of our country’s technology industry, resulting in lost revenues, taxes, and jobs.
This is why I ask you for your continued support for restricting the powers of the National Security Agency to only search for specific information authorized by limited purpose warrants. I also ask for your support in making sure that these limitations apply to both Americans as well as non-Americans. I believe that with proper regulation we can still remain vigilant against threats from terrorists while also respecting the rights of law-abiding individuals from around the world who do business with technology companies in Massachusetts and the rest of the United States.