The American Civil Liberties Union has been one of the more public organizations decrying and fighting the National Security Agency’s domestic surveillance tactics. When documents leaked by whistle blower Edward Snowden surfaced, they created an outcry from civil libertarians around the country. The ACLU was then instrumental in getting the NSA to disclose information, often via Freedom of Information Act (FIA) requests and through the courts.
The documents uncovered are a “primary source of evidence of our government’s interpretation of its authority to engage in sweeping surveillance activities at home and abroad, and how it carries out that surveillance,” says the ACLU in a public statement announcing the initiative to allow public access to the source materials.
That initiative has become the NSA Documents Database, an up-to-date, real-time search tool allowing full access to the complete collection of previously secret NSA documents made public since the ACLU got involved last year. Searchable in a way similar to a library card catalog, the database has additional sort functions to narrow searches further so that researchers can look for information on specific types of surveillance, time frames, and more.
The ACLU has promised to continue adding documents to the database as they become available.
“The fact is that most of the documents contained in this database should have never been secret in the first place,” the ACLU continues. “Now, with newfound access to these records, we can educate ourselves about the true nature and scope of government surveillance in its many forms. This database will serve as a critical tool with which we will hold our government accountable.”
You can access the NSA Documents Database here.