The American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression (ABFFE) has joined a number of other civil liberties organizations, including the ACLU, to protest the National Security Administration's surveillance of Americans' Internet activity and phone records. The recently revealed news of the NSA's actions spurred ABFFE and the other groups to write an open letter to members of Congress.
The letter says that the type of "blanket" spying the NSA has done "strikes at bedrock American values of freedom and privacy." For booksellers and librarians in particular, the NSA's actions recall their fight against Section 215 of the USA Patriot Act. ABFFE president Chris Finan said: "Booksellers, librarians and other members of the publishing community have been trying to amend Section 215 for years because it threatens the privacy of bookstore and library records. he fact that NSA is collecting the phone records of every Verizon customer in the United States demonstrates that the threat to our privacy is very real. How can we speak and associate freely if we fear the government is watching us?”
Over 80 organizations have signed off on the letter, which was sent on Tuesday. ABFFE said the letter "renews the call for reform of Section 215 and urges Congress to investigate and report the extent of the government’s domestic spying and to hold accountable public officials who are responsible for unconstitutional surveillance."