A campaign has been set up by more than 30 civil liberties organisations in an attempt to bring an end to a controversial section of the Patriot Act that allows the NSA and FBI to conduct suspicionless mass surveillance.
Section 215 of the Patriot Act, which was first passed through Congress following the 9/11 terrorist attacks in 2001, is set to expire on 1 June unless the US Congress votes for it to be reauthorised.
Thirty eight advocacy groups, including Human Rights Watch, Media Alliance and the Electronic Frontier Foundation, have now joined to form Fight 215, a campaign aiming to prevent Congress from rubber stamping the programme.
"Ending phone record surveillance is the first step to reining in surveillance abuses by the NSA," Fight 215's website reads. "Please join us in making this the year we stand for privacy and liberty, not secrecy and fear."
The campaign claims that Section 215 of the Patriot Act is unconstitutional, illegal and "violates the privacy of millions of innocent people".
It is also claimed by Fight 215 that the program has not made the US any safer, citing the White House's own Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, which said: "We have not identified a single instance involving a threat to the United States in which [bulk collection under Section 215 of the Patriot Act] made a concrete difference in the outcome of a counterterrorism investigation."
Edward Snowden, the former NSA contractor who became a whistle-blower against the agency, has been one of the most prominent critics of Section 215 and the abuses of civil liberties that have stemmed from it. He has been joined by several US Senators and District Court Judges in calling for Congress to bring an end to the surveillance programme.
"Suspicionless surveillance has no place in a democracy," Snowden said. The next 60 days are a historic opportunity to rein in the NSA, but the only one who can end the worst of its abuses is you. Call your representatives and tell them that the unconstitutional 'bulk collection' of Americans' private records under Section 215 of the Patriot Act must end."