Published: November 2013

Is the NSA spying on trade policy advocates?

Organizations working to influence U.S. trade policy are seeking assurances that they are not being spied on by the National Security Agency (NSA) or other national security agencies.

In light of The New York Times reports that wide-reaching efforts by the National Security Agency (NSA) to collect data are driven in part by the agency's "customers," advocacy organizations working to influence U.S. trade policy sent a letter to NSA Director Keith Alexander and U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman, seeking assurances that “their operations are not under surveillance by U.S. government agencies.”

“Organizations of U.S. citizens have a right to know that their government is not spying on them as they work to influence U.S. policy,” said Public Citizen President Robert Weissman. “This is something we all should be able to take for granted, but it’s plain now that we can’t.”

The groups’ letter asks the NSA and USTR to disclose whether any U.S. groups or individuals aiming to influence trade policy are under surveillance, regardless of whether such surveillance occurred within U.S. borders.

“The U.S. digital giants – including Google, Facebook and Yahoo – want the U.S. Trade Representative to help them become powerful commercial versions of the NSA,” said Jeff Chester of the Center for Digital Democracy. “Americans must be assured that the administration won’t trade away their privacy rights to help expand the information collected by the NSA and U.S. data companies.”

Lead Organization

Public Citizen

Other Organizations

Access ( | American Medical Student Association | Center for Digital Democracy | Center for Effective Government | Center for Financial Privacy and Human Rights | Center for Food Safety | Center for International and Environmental Law | Center for Media and Democracy | Center for Rights | Citizens for Ethics and Responsibility in Washington (CREW) | Citizens Trade Campaign | Coalition for Sensible Safeguards | Communications Workers of America | Consumer Action | Consumer Federation of America Consumer Watchdog | Defending Dissent Foundation | Electronic Frontier Foundation | Fight for the Future | Food & Water Watch | Friends of the Earth, U.S. | Friends of Privacy USA | Government Accountability Project | Greenpeace | Health GAP | Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy | Just Foreign Policy | Knowledge Ecology International | National Legislative Association on Prescription Drug Prices | | Organic Consumers Association | Privacy Times | Project On Government Oversight (POGO) | Public Citizen | Public Knowledge | Sunlight Foundation | U.S. PIRG | World Privacy Forum

More Information

For more information, please visit the Public Citizen website.

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Is the NSA spying on trade policy advocates?   (cso-letter-on-nsa-surveillance-11-12-13.pdf)




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