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NYCLU Launches “Spy Files” Campaign To Help Uncover Government Surveillance of New Yorkers

In light of revelations that the government is spying on people engaged in peaceful political and religious activity, the New York Civil Liberties Union today launched a campaign to help New York’s political groups and activists file requests for documents from law enforcement agencies to find out whether they are under surveillance.

The NYCLU’s website, www.nyclu.org/spyfiles, now provides New Yorkers with a tool kit that includes model letter requests for documents and answers to frequently asked questions about filing requests for government documents from law enforcement agencies.

“We now know that federal and state agencies are using expanded powers to target peaceful political protest groups for infiltration and surveillance,” said Corey Stoughton, NYCLU Staff Attorney. “The NYCLU’s Spy Files Tool Kit gives New York’s activist community the tools to find out whether they are being watched.”

Earlier this year the NYCLU filed requests under the federal Freedom of Information Act and the New York state Freedom of Information Law on behalf of fifteen prominent political and religious groups seeking information about whether they are under surveillance. The Spy Files Tool Kit released today expands that campaign by giving any group or individual the tools to file such a request.

“The federal Freedom of Information Act and the New York Freedom of Information Law are powerful legal tools to compel the government to disclose information,” said Donna Lieberman, NYCLU Executive Director. “Those laws’ power comes from the fact that any citizen can file a request. The Spy Files Tool Kit should make that process easier.”

The NYCLU’s new Spy Files Tool Kit is available online at www.nyclu.org/spyfiles.

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