Thousands of Americans will fogo the traditional Fourth of July backyard barbecue or beach trip this week, instead choosing to join nationwide rallies against recently revealed National Security Agency surveillance programs.
The protests are being organized by Restore the Fourth, a 23-day-old organization that spawned on Reddit in reaction to the NSA revelations. Restore the Fourth’s long-term goal is ending what its members consider the NSA’s unconstitutional surveillance regime and reinstating the Fourth Amendment’s protections against unreasonable searches and seizures.
— Thousands to Join ‘Restore the Fourth’ Anti-NSA Rallies, Alex Fitzpatrick, Mashable
For a lot more information about Restore the Fourth, see the organizers’ Ask Me Anything on Reddit
The July 4 rallies and Internet Defense League’s “Cat Signal” are getting some high-profile hits, with articles in Time, The Hill, techPresident (by Sarah Lai Stirland, who covered Get FISA Right five years ago!), the Washington Post, the BBC, Boston Globe, techDirt, Ars Technica, gigaOm , CSO magazine, and more. We’ve collected some of the recent coverage using Storify.
Most of the articles talk about the rallies as well as the online activity Fight For the Future is leading. The overall tone is quite positive, and it’s great to see so much high-profile mainstream media covering the rallies (especially since the progressive blogosphere, a huge force in 2008, has so far been fairly silent). I particularly liked this quote from Restore the Fourth director of communications Michael Reed in Nicole Greenstein’s Time article
The surveillance opposition efforts have so far brought together an eclectic group of supporters, including two unlikely partners — an Ohio Tea Party association and Occupy Wall Street NYC. This bipartisanship is an advantage Reed thinks will make Capitol Hill lawmakers stop and listen.
Unfortunately Time’s headline gets the emphasis somewhat wrong. Ah well, any publicity is good publicity. Still, it’s worth restating what this is in aid of. The July 4th demonstrations seek to demand an end to the unconstitutional surveillance methods employed by the U.S. government and to ensure that all future government surveillance is constitutional, limited, and clearly defined. And more specifically, Restore the Fourth stands with StopWatching.us, EFF, BORDC, Get FISA Right, and 80 other groups with our ‘asks’:
- Enact reform this Congress to Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act, the state secrets privilege, and the FISA Amendments Act to make clear that blanket surveillance of the Internet activity and phone records of any person residing in the U.S. is prohibited by law and that violations can be reviewed in adversarial proceedings before a public court;
- Create a special committee to investigate, report, and reveal to the public the extent of this domestic spying. This committee should create specific recommendations for legaland regulatory reform to end unconstitutional surveillance;
- Hold accountable those public officials who are found to be responsible for this unconstitutional surveillance.
Hope that clears things up!