Published on Russia Today RT, Oct 25, 2013.
While Americans continue to learn more about the data surveillance program run by the National Security Agency, civil liberties groups are organizing what’s being billed as the largest privacy rally in United States history.
The Rally Against Mass Surveillance – run by a coalition of over 100 public advocacy groups known as Stop Watching Us – will take place Saturday, October 26 in Washington, D.C. Thousands are expected to attend the event, where organizers will deliver a petition to Congress signed by more than 500,000 people opposed to the NSA’s policies.
Member groups of Stop Watching Us include the American Civil Liberties Union, Freedom Works, as well as individuals like Chinese artist/activist Ai Weiwei and Glenn Greenwald, the journalist who worked with Edward Snowden to expose many of the NSA’s surveillance procedures.
The build-up to the rally began October 16, when Fight for the Future (FFTF), a non-profit group and member of the Stop Watching Us coalition, released a new video tackling the NSA’s various surveillance practices. The crowdfunded video, narrated by Evangeline Lilly, is intended to drive conversation and generate momentum for a movement hoping to grow even larger.
Watch the video: How the Gov tracks you, NSA surveillance, 5.24 min, … //
… watch second video: Stop watching us, 3.26 min … //
… Recent polling on the issue shows the majority of Americans oppose the blanket collection of private data by the government, though others have painted a more complicated picture when terrorism enters the equation. Supporters of the surveillance program have pointed to the administration’s claim that 54 attacks have been “thwarted” as a result of data collected, but a new ProPublica report revealed that evidence for this is thin, and the NSA has only described four cases to the public.
According to Greer, while it’s unclear how effective the program has been concerning terrorism,“what we do know is that the NSA and its defenders in Congress have consistently misled the public, given false information, and outright lied about this issue … What we definitely know is that these programs have had a massively chilling effect on freedom of speech and freedom of expression.”
Neither FFTF nor Stop Watching Us is pushing specific legislation with the rally in DC, but they are seeking more than transparency on the matter. For its part, FFTF would like to see “a complete overhaul of the laws that govern surveillance,” including requiring government agencies to seek out a judge and a warrant when they desire access to an individual’s data.
Whether or not the rally succeeds in driving lawmakers to act remains to be seen, but FFTF also wants those outside government to create better software that could help protect individuals’ privacy … //
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US intelligence warning allies about sensitive Snowden leaks yet to be published – report, on Russia Today RT, Oct 25, 2013;
NSA spied on phones of 35 world leaders, on Russia Today RT, Oct 24, 2013;