Just a few days before the 12th anniversary of the Patriot Act -- which legislators of have cited as giving them authority to conduct spy programs like the NSA's recently publicized initiatives -- a celebrity and whistleblower-filled video lambasting mass surveillance has been released.
“Stop Watching Us: The Video" highlights a growing history of government surveillance, especially as digital tools have come online in the last few decades.
This Thursday, June 6, 2013 file photo shows the National Security Administration (NSA) campus in Fort Meade, Md. When Edward Snowden - the 29-year-old intelligence contractor whose leak of top-secret documents has exposed sweeping government surveillance programs - went to Arundel High School, the agency regularly sent employees from its nearby black-glass headquarters to tutor struggling math students. (AP/Patrick Semansky)
"Every American is at risk for getting caught up in the NSA dragnet," director Oliver Stone, known for films like "JFK," "Nixon," "Platoon" and "Natural Born Killers," says in the video.
"Including average citizens not suspected of a crime," actor John Cusack adds.
And then a damning comparison is dropped: The video likens the NSA spying scandal to Watergate.
"We've seen this story before," Daniel Ellsberg, a former military analyst turned whistleblower who released the "Pentagon Papers" in the 1970s, says. "And we decided it was wrong."
[sharequote align="center"]"In the surveillance state, democracy itself is dead."[/sharequote]
The video features other NSA whistleblowers -- no, Edward Snowden was not the first -- saying the country is "at a crossroads" when it comes to personal privacy and civil liberties.
"What I was eyewitness to was a subversion of the Constitution," says Thomas Drake, a veteran and former NSA official who leaked information about two NSA data collection projects.
National Security Agency Director General Keith Alexander is sworn on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Sept. 26, 2013, prior to testifying before the Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), and National Security Agency (NSA) call records. Clapper told lawmakers he's willing to consider limits on surveillance by the National Security Agency. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
The ultimate message of the video is that online activity, a digital footprint, belongs to the individual. The StopWatching.us coalition, which includes more than 100 civil rights and privacy advocacy organizations, is gearing up for a rally in Washington, D.C., Saturday -- the official 12th anniversary of the Patriot Act's passage.
StopWatching.us wants a full Congressional investigation of these intelligence programs and calls for a reform to federal surveillance law.
"We need to end mass, suspicionless surveillance," actress Maggie Gyllenhaal says.
"In the surveillance state, democracy itself is dead," Cusack adds.
Watch the full video and see if you agree with the politicians, whistleblowers and Hollywood celebrities:
As part of Saturday's rally, StopWatching.us said it will drop off a petition to Congress with more than a half million signatures opposing the NSA's spy programs.
This video comes just as Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel was forced to call President Barack Obama over allegations that the NSA's data collection reached as far as her own phone calls. The White House denied current or future surveillance of Merkel's calls.