For Immediate Release

Organization Profile: 

Christina DiPasquale, 202.716.1953,

Video and Guide to Busting Common Excuses for NSA Mass Surveillance

WASHINGTON - Last night, the New York Times published the 5-minute Op-Doc “Why Care About the N.S.A.,” featuring Senator Ron Wyden and “Pentagon Papers” whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg, written and directed by Brian Knappenberger (We Are Legion: The Story of the Hacktivists). The short video explores why some people remain unconcerned about the National Security Agency’s mass spying and provides responses to the most common misperceptions about its pernicious effects.


“The Internet has placed all of us firmly in a new and insecure world,” said director Brian Knappenberger. “Simultaneously, a perpetual ‘war on terror’ has infused within that world a culture of fear and anxiety, along with surveillance policies that will have long-lasting implications. Now is the moment for a course-correction, where civil liberties are written not just into our laws but into our computer code.”

The Electronic Frontier Foundation released “Busting Eight Common Excuses For NSA Mass Surveillance,” a resource for effectively communicating about NSA spying when speaking with family members about the problems of NSA surveillance.

Both the video, conceived and created by Knappenberger, and the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s new guide are designed to serve as useful tools to engage others in the national dialogue around NSA spying.


“Our guide offers simple responses to common misconceptions,” said Trevor Timm, activist at the Electronic Frontier Foundation. “It will help you explain why NSA spying is an affront to a free society to people who are relatively new to the topic.”

The guide explains goes through basic facts about the NSA, including:

  • The NSA cannot point to a single terrorist attack they’ve stopped using the surveillance program that sweeps up virtually every phone record in the United States.
  • The government has a long history of overstretching its surveillance powers and using that information in unlawful ways.
  • Declassified documents show that the NSA has already abused its power, including tracking ex-wives and lovers (LOVEINT), and violating or ignoring court orders. And these are only the self-reported abuses.
  • There is no such thing as “just metadata.” Metadata can be even more privacy invasive than the content of your conversations. It can reveal your religious and political views, who you are dating (and when you break up), who your spouse and children are, your movements, and even information your closest friends and family don’t know

To speak to director Brian Knappenberger or an Electronic Frontier Foundation spokesperson, please contact Christina DiPasquale at 202.716.1953


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