“We as a democracy should have a greater say in how the government uses the incredibly powerful tools at its disposal to conduct mass surveillance and restrict liberties in the name of supposed national security goals,” said Gyllenhaal. “I’m proud to join the ACLU in its fight to ensure that people retain control over their private lives.”
In her role, Gyllenhaal will support the ACLU’s work to rein in the government’s surveillance practices, to ensure that meaningful privacy protections mitigate intelligence agencies’ collection of citizens’ data, and to help inform citizens of their privacy rights and the ways in which they can hold local law enforcement departments accountable when they use invasive technologies against ordinary people.
She will also combat government efforts to weaken cybersecurity and speak out on other government abuses in the name of the so-called “war on terror,” such as the indefinite detention without charge or trial of prisoners at Guantánamo Bay.
In her first effort on behalf of the ACLU, Gyllenhaal sent an email today to the organization’s supporters asking them to back efforts to free Mohamedou Slahi, a Mauritanian citizen and the author of the bestselling memoir “Guantánamo Diary” who has been detained at the prison without charge or trial since 2002.
“Mohamedou is not only the central character in the moving and eye-opening book Guantánamo Diary — he is a man of flesh and blood,” she wrote. “He has spent the last 14 years in Guantánamo Bay prison as an innocent man. And he urgently needs our help.”
Gyllenhaal is an Oscar-nominated actress whose film work has included, “Secretary,” “Crazy Heart,” “Dark Knight,” “Stranger Than Fiction,” and many more. Last year, she starred in the BBC/SundanceTV original series “The Honorable Woman,” for which she garnered a 2015 Golden Globe Award, a SAG Award nomination, and an Emmy Award nomination. More recently, she narrated “Truth and Power,” a documentary series on Pivot TV exploring the invasive use of technology by our government.
Launched in October 2013, the ACLU’s Ambassador Project pairs artists from television, film, music, and comedy with issue priorities. Like other ambassadors, Gyllenhaal will promote ACLU work online and in the media. She joins an impressive ACLU ambassador roster: Michael K. Williams on ending mass incarceration; Demian Bichir for immigrants’ rights; Harry Belafonte on the overincarceration of juveniles; W. Kamau Bell for racial justice; Lewis Black for voting rights; Melissa Etheridge for marijuana reform; Jesse Tyler Ferguson on marriage rights for same-sex couples; Sasheer Zamata on women’s rights; and Marlee Matlin for disability rights.
More information about the ACLU Ambassador Project is here.