Resistance to NSA Surveillance: Activism, Legal, Legislative, Oversight Roundup

There’s a lot going on! Here’s a roundup of what’s happening in the US on various fronts ….


Restore the Fourth has a congressional call-in day on Friday, leveraging’s 1-323-STOP-NSA number.  Restore the Phones: Tell Congress this Isn’t Over has the details, including a link to a basic script.  Restore the Fourth is also planning another round of protests on August 4, and a campaign focused on town hall meetings during Congress’ summer recess.   There are lots of other exciting ideas bubbling up in the discussions and in local organizing meetings.  Get involved!



Writing in the Asbury Park Press, Representative Rush Holt (D-NJ) announced that he’ll be introducing legislation to repeal the Patriot Act and FISA; details coming soon, hopefully. Holt is running for Senate in New Jersey, and it will be interesting to see how big a part this issue will play in the Democratic Primary against Cory Booker.

On the ACLU Blog of Rights, Michelle Richardson has a roundup of the other congressional action.  The LIBERT-E Act (H.R. 2399, sponsored by Representatives Amash (R-Mich) and Conyers (D-Mich) and 31 others), and the Ending Secret Law Act (S. 1130 and H.R. 2475, sponsored by Sens. Merkley (D-Ore.), Lee (R-Utah) and 10 others in the Senate and Reps Schiff (D-Calif.), Rokita (R-Idaho) and five others in the House) really highlight the growing transpartisan alliance on this.  Progressive Democrats and Tea Party faves, together again for the first time!

Other bills in the Senate include Udall and Merkeley’s  S. 1182, Bernie Sanders Restore Our Privacy Act (S. 1168), Rand Paul’s The Fourth Amendment Restoration Act (S. 1037), and Senate Judiciary Chairman Leahy’s FISA Accountability and Privacy Protection Act (although see Tim Cushing’s is skeptical about the Leahy bill on TechDirt).



The Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board had its first-ever meeting on July 9, with a great list of witnesses, including Marc Rotenberg from EPIC, Kate Martin of the Center for National Security Studies, and computer science great Steve Bellovin from Columbia University. Former Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court judge James Robertson’s testimony got the headlines with the assertion that what the court has done since it started approving bulk collection amounts to “approval” not “adjudication” and his call for an adversaial proceeedings; I thought PCLOB member Jim Dempsey’s message to the civil liberties community was also very important. Steven Braun for AP, Alexei Alexis at Bloomberg BnA, Grant Gross in Computerworld IDG and Jennifer Martinez in The Hill all have details.

It’s hard to know what will happen with the PCLOB.  Robertson suggested that it could fill the adversarial role before the FISA Court, and Leslie Harris of CDT paints it as potentially in the role of the Church Commission,  On the other hand, The Guardian and Emptywheel bring up concerns about its composition, processes, and resources.  So, we shall see.  In any case I think Jim’s got a great point here.  What does it mean to Get FISA Right?


2 Responses to Resistance to NSA Surveillance: Activism, Legal, Legislative, Oversight Roundup

  1. jonpincus says:

    If you’re new to Restore the Fourth, it’s not always obvious how to follow what’s going on and how to get involved. The web site has had a couple of posts this week with updates. For more details and discussion, the best place to go is the Restore the Fourth subreddit — make sure to check the “new” links as well as the “hot” ones. There’s also a Facebook page.

    Right now, a lot of the energy is happening in local group meetings: Washington and New York met last night, Boston is tonight, LA and San Francisco are coming up. To find a local Restore the Fourth group, start by searching for “Restore the Fourth (your city)” on Duck Duck Go, Ixquick, Startpage, or any other search engine. With luck, you’ll find a website, Facebook or Google group, or subreddit. In my case, I didn’t have any luck searching for “Restore the Fourth Bellevue”, but “Restore the Fourth Seattle” gets me to a Facebook group and a reddit. If you can’t find anything, try posting on the main Restore the Fourth reddit looking for people, or send mail to the organizers at

  2. sallijane says:

    Thanks, Jon; the Christian Science Monitor has a couple of good articles on FISA/NSA/privacy; sent to our “group of 14” and will try to post here within the next couple of days.

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