Save Internet Privacy: Day of Action May 26th

May 23, 2020

I am posting here, almost in its entirety, a Rapid Response e-mail that I got today from Fight for the Future.  (well, not quite—we don’t fund-raise, certainly not for ourselves [we are barely here, anymore!] and not since we supported Russ Feingold in his last run for the Senate [We miss you, Russ!], so donation buttons have been removed, but not the “pitch”, as we really like Fight for the Future, and would seriously not object to any donations to them)

The quick version is this: Check out the Fight for the Future day of action next Tuesday, May 26th, 2020, here: SaveInternetPrivacy.org.

For background and details, read on:

The Senate just voted to reauthorize the USA Patriot Act and FISA surveillance authorities. That’s terrible.1

But here’s the deal: we just got handed a once in a lifetime opportunity to finally stop one of the worst types of government spying, by passing an amendment that would require a warrant for accessing Internet activity like web browsing and search history.

But it will only happen if we can mobilize a massive rapid response to force House leadership to act. And we’re expecting a vote early next week, which means they’re deciding right now.

We’re pulling together an EMERGENCY day of action this Tuesday.

Congress makes everything more complicated than it needs to be, but here’s the basics of what’s going on:

The Senate voted to pass the USA Freedom Reauthorization Act, which reauthorizes the Patriot Act and some FISA surveillance powers. That’s bad.

But, they also voted to pass a good amendment from Senators Lee and Leahy that will create some new protections to prevent surveillance based on solely on constitutionally protected political activity or religion. That’s good.

They failed to pass a bipartisan amendment offered by Senators Wyden and Daines that would require the FBI to get a warrant before spying on Internet activity. It lost by only one vote, but that’s only because there were several senators not present when the vote happened. That’s heartbreaking.

But here’s the good news: the bill as amended now goes back to the House. And now that we know we have the votes to pass the good amendment in the Senate, there’s absolutely no excuse for Speaker Pelosi to not allow a vote on it in the House. If she does, it will pass, and then it will pass the Senate.

And that would be a HUGE DEAL. Our position is that the Patriot Act should be repealed in its entirety, but getting this amendment passed would be the one of the most meaningful limitations placed on government surveillance in the last two decades.

Will you help us fight against the Patriot Act and stop the government from creeping on everything we do online? Please rush a donation right now.

We’ve heard from our allies in DC that House leadership is trying to find ways to sneak through a vote to reauthorize the Patriot Act WITHOUT allowing a vote on the good amendment that would require a warrant for Internet spying. But they’re scared they won’t have the votes.

If we can flood them with phone calls and emails and tweets right now and show them there will be massive backlash unless they allow a vote on the Wyden/Daines amendment, they’ll cave, and it will be a huge victory in the fight for Internet privacy and basic rights.

We’ve set up an email and call-in tool at SaveInternetPrivacy.org, and we’re helping build a big coalition of organizations from across the political spectrum to drive phone calls. Websites like Tumblr and Reddit are helping spread the word.

But it costs us money to connect the phone calls, send mass texts to supporters to generate actions, and mobilize our network of websites and advocacy groups. And no one was expecting this opportunity to arise. So we urgently need to raise the funds to cover these costs.

We know many people are struggling and not everyone can donate right now. But if you’re in a position to help, please chip in now so we can seize this chance to finally stop one of the worst types of Patriot Act surveillance.

For freedom,

Evan at Fight for the Future

Footnote:
1. The Verge: https://www.theverge.com/2020/5/14/21257782/surveillance-bill-congress-senate-pass-usa-freedom-reauthorization-act

and if you have made it this far, take a look at this article that I just found on the Fight for the Future site: https://www.fightforthefuture.org/news/2020-05-23-facebook-told-my-followers-i-was-spreading-misinformation-about-government-surveillance-i-wasnt-63622dd7ae56/