Defend the 4th Amendment! Don’t let the U.S Government get away with spying on you.
By now I’m sure you all know about Edward Snowden and how he leaked details of several top-secret U.S. and British government mass surveillance programs to the press.
Who is Edward Snowden?
Edward Snowden is an American former technical contractor for the United States National Security Agency (NSA) and a former employee of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).
Snowden leaked the information about mass surveillance in the early half of 2013 while employed as an “infrastructure analyst” at NSA contractor Booz Allen Hamilton. Soon after, “The Guardian” published a series of exposés in June–July 2013 and revealed programs such as the interception of US and European telephone metadata and the PRISM Internet surveillance programs.
Snowden said the leaks were an effort “to inform the public as to that which is done in their name and that which is done against them.”
On June 14, 2013, U.S. federal prosecutors charged Snowden with espionage and theft of government property.
“I don’t want to live in a society that does these sorts of things [surveillance on its citizens]… I do not want to live in a world where everything I do and say is recorded.” – Edward Snowden
What information is being collected?
Under a controversial interpretation of the Patriot Act, the NSA is collecting information about every domestic phone call of every Verizon customer in the United States.
Information collected includes the phone number dialed, the time and duration of the call, and information about the cell phone tower used to make each call.
Snowden’s information only covered the company Verizon but it has been considered highly likely that all the other major telephone companies were involved in the program.
In addition to phone records, we now know that the NSA has a program called PRISM, which allows the agency to obtain private information about users of Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Yahoo and other Internet companies.
PRISM is a system for expediting the delivery of private information after company lawyers have scrutinized a government request. However, judges have signed off on broad orders which allow the NSA to make use of information “inadvertently” collected from domestic US communications without a warrant.
Is any of this legal?
Section 215 of the Patriot Act apparently gives the government the power to obtain any “tangible thing” from third parties relevant to a terrorist investigation. However, Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, the lead sponsor of the Patriot Act, has denounced the Obama administration’s interpretation of Section 215 as “a bunch of bunk.” He argues that Section 215 orders were only intended to be used for information relevant to specific investigations.
What about the Fourth Amendment?
The Fourth Amendment requires search warrants to be specific about who is to be searched and what information is to be seized. However, there’s nothing specific about the Verizon order when it comes to collecting phone records.
The government says PRISM is authorized by Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act, but the more controversial question is whether Section 702 itself is constitutional.
FISA orders are not search warrants, but the government argues that the Fourth Amendment does not apply because it is only spying on non-Americans. However, critics have said that although the “targets” of NSA surveillance may be foreigners, the surveillance itself may still collect information about Americans, and even use that information for non-intelligence purposes. They argue that doing that without a warrant violates the Constitution.
So how can we protest?
The facts are clear: the NSA has turned the Internet into a massive surveillance system. They’re using the websites we love to track our every move.
On July 4th, thousands protested in more than 100 cities, and over 30,000 websites of the “Internet Defense League” (IDL) joined in.
This is only the beginning…
Defend the 4th Amendment! Write to Congress now:
Callforfreedom.org lists some great ways to protest this invasion of privacy. You can write to congress, share the protest on social media platforms, or post images everywhere to show your support for the protests.
I stand by the Fourth Amendment and against mass NSA surveillance. Do you?