February 27, 2014

Wyden, Udall, Heinrich Statement on Reported Bulk Collection of Private Videos

Washington, D.C. – United States Senators Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Mark Udall (D-Colo.) and Martin Heinrich (D- N.M.) issued the following joint statement in response to reports that a large number of individuals, including Americans, may have had private online webcam videos intercepted in bulk by British intelligence agencies.

“We are extremely troubled by today’s press report that a very large number of individuals – including law-abiding Americans – may have had private videos of themselves and their families intercepted and stored without any suspicion of wrongdoing.  If this report is accurate it would show a breathtaking lack of respect for the privacy and civil liberties of law-abiding citizens.  
In recent decades, largely isolated national communications systems have been replaced by a single, globally interconnected communications network.  While this has had incredibly positive benefits, it has also dramatically increased the likelihood of innocent Americans being swept up in intelligence collection nominally aimed at foreigners.  It is becoming clearer and clearer that more needs to be done to ensure that “foreign” intelligence collection does not intrude unnecessarily on the rights of law-abiding people or needlessly undermine the competitiveness of America’s leading industries.  
We commend Chairman Feinstein for her decision to conduct a comprehensive review of ongoing surveillance programs, and we plan to thoroughly investigate these most recent reports as that review goes forward.  Any involvement of US agencies in the alleged activities reported today will need to be closely scrutinized.”