Spies Like Us

This is big. And positively frightening.

The Obama administration is spying on all calls millions of Verizon customers make each day to any phone number inside or outside the United States.

The news broke when the Guardian unveiled the top secret court order that authorized the government’s shocking mass surveillance program.

This comes just weeks after we learned the Justice Department has been spying on journalists, and threatening them with criminal prosecution, just for doing their jobs.

They’re watching the rest of us, too — and none of us can be silent about these outrageous government intrusions any longer.

This story is a decade in the making. In 2006, we learned that the Bush administration was using the Patriot Act to collect the phone records of tens of millions of Americans. The National Security Agency's goal at the time, according to sources, was "to create a database of every call ever made." The biggest phone companies were willing accomplices.

But this latest chapter is worse than almost anyone could have imagined. The newly exposed secret court order could give spy agencies access to data on every call Verizon customers make every day.

Verizon serves at least 100 million customers across the country. We don't know yet if this is the first time a court order like this has been made or whether the government is using the Patriot Act to track calls made by customers of all phone companies.

Although we haven’t had evidence this clear before, some civil liberties advocates and surveillance experts think this type of order has become “routine.”

It shouldn't be.

Whatever law enforcement and national security aims the White House might claim, monitoring the activities of millions of innocent people for no good reason threatens our basic liberties and our freedom to connect.

It’s time to take a stand, and to tell the Obama administration to stop these extreme — and extremely dangerous — spying programs.

Act now. Tell President Obama to stop the mass surveillance of Americans.