Maggie Gyllenhaal is one of a number of celebrities who appear in a new ad warning about government snooping on average citizens.

Maggie Gyllenhaal is one of a number of celebrities who appear in a new ad warning about government snooping on average citizens. (Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images)

Actress Maggie Gyllenhaal joins a number of liberal crusaders and celebrities, from Phil Donohue to Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg to warn about the rise of secret government surveillance programs tapping the Internet to spy on ordinary Americans.

The effort is being organized by a group known as, which is organizing a mass rally in Washington, D.C., Oct. 26.

The umbrella organization includes more than 100 public advocacy organizations and companies from “across the political spectrum.” Their concern is the NSA’s unprecedented mass surveillance program conducted against U.S. citizens, according to its website.

Ellsberg kicks off the public service announcement, citing information released by Edward Snowdon, who is now facing espionage charges in the United States. Snowdon is currently holed up in Russia.

The Cast of StopWatching PSA Ad

Daniel Ellsberg, “Pentagon Papers” whistleblower
Phil Donahue, television talk-show pioneer
US Rep. John Conyers Jr., (D-MI), ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee
David Segal, executive director of Demand Progress
Maggie Gyllenhaal, actor and activist
Oliver Stone, director, The Untold History of the United States and Nixon
John Cusack, actor and activist
Wil Wheaton, actor and writer
Molly Crabapple, artist and writer
Jesselyn Radack, U.S. Department of Justice whistleblower and national security and human rights director at the Government Accountability Project
J. Kirk Wiebe, NSA whistleblower
Mark Klein, AT&T whistleblower who revealed the telecommunications company’s collaboration with the NSA in collecting customer data
Thomas Drake, NSA whistleblower
Cindy Cohn, Legal Director at the Electronic Frontier Foundation
Dan Choi, LGBTQ activist and Iraq War veteran
Lawrence Lessig, Roy L. Furman Professor of Law and Leadership at Harvard Law School

He revealed widespread domestic surveillance programs by the super secret National Security Administration, also known as the NSA.

“Revelations that have emerged in the past few months from whistleblower Edward Snodown and others…” he begins.

“…Have painted a disturbing picture of widespread, suspicionless surveillance of America citizens,” adds long-time liberal activist and former talkshow host Donahue.

Gyllenhaal appears about 25 seconds into the video, contributing to an explanation of the problem. Other celebrities who appear include Director Oliver Stone and actors John Cusack and Will Wheaton.

In addition, a number of government whistleblowers, who have called attention to the problem, added their caution about the rise of a “surveillance” state.

The issue is not a new one. During the Nixon Administration in the 1970s, the government conducted illegal surveillance of U.S. citizens and other dirty tricks. Ellsberg, one of their targets, was a then a RAND Corporation employee who leaked a massive secret history of the Vietnam War to newspapers.

Those events pre-existed the Internet which has become an all encompassing, containing information on almost every aspect of our lives. “The tools for surveillance have never been more powerful and the threat to our civil liberties has never been greater,” says Cusack.

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