The Debate Over Mass NSA Surveillance Comes to Hollywood

The debate over National Security Agency surveillance tactics has come to Hollywood. Industry heavyweights such as Oliver Stone, Maggie Gyllenhaal and John Cusack appear in a new video alongside Representative John Conyers Jr. (D-Michigan), Harvard Law professor Lawrence Lessig, military analyst Daniel Ellsberg, advocates and government whistle-blowers. The video addresses civil liberties, the right to privacy, and calls for bringing an end to mass NSA surveillance.

“The video, which was produced by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, draws comparisons between recent revelations by the NSA whistle-blower Edward J. Snowden and crimes conducted under the Nixon administration,” explains The New York Times.

The video also targets American technology companies. “We have also learned of the large-scale collaboration with telecom giants, Internet companies and service providers,” actor Wil Wheaton tells viewers as a shot of the well known Prism PowerPoint slide, listing Microsoft, Google, Yahoo, Facebook and other companies, appears.

The aforementioned companies have claimed that they had no choice but to follow government orders. However, companies that combat the government’s desire to collect user information are regarded as heroes.

“Some concerned e-mail providers have chosen to shut their doors rather than cave to government subpoenas to hand over their users data,” artist Molly Crabapple tells viewers, specifically referring to Lavabit and Silent Circle, two e-mail service providers that recently shut down.

“The video was directed by Brian Knappenberger, who also directed ‘We Are Legion: The Story of the Hacktivists.’ It was timed for an anti-surveillance rally in Washington this Saturday, on the 12th anniversary of the Patriot Act,” reports The New York Times.

“This is the moment for a large-scale debate on the future of this thing we all love, the Internet, the way we communicate, our relationship with our government and how technology and its progress can blend with more traditional notions of privacy, liberty and democracy,” Knappenberger said.

The video can be viewed on the Electronic Frontier Foundation site.