This piece by GNI Policy and Communications Director David Sullivan originally appeared on ThinkProgress:
There is no shortage of divergent views about the once secret NSA surveillance programs former contractor Edward Snowden allegedly leaked. But there is one point on which even the fiercest critics and staunchest defenders of national security communications surveillance seem to agree: more transparency from the U.S. government is required.
Whether one views the NSA intelligence programs overseen by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court as a shocking privacy breach, business-as-usual for a signal intelligence agency, or a positive example of intelligence oversight, it’s increasingly clear that the public lacks the basic information needed to objectively evaluate the costs and benefits of the status quo.
With more disclosure, there is an opportunity to assess the human rights risks that may arise from the technological advances in the era of big data. In turn, we can determine through democratic processes the appropriate legal safeguards that should apply to surveillance, and develop international norms to protect the right to privacy across borders.