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Thousands Rallied in DC Against NSA Surveillance on Patriot Act Anniversary
by Ali Papademetriou
On Saturday, which was the 12th anniversary of the US Patriot Act’s signing, thousands of activists gathered in Washington D.C. to protest the mass surveillance that’s been going on in the United States for some time now, which has also been highly scrutinized lately.
New revelations of the National Security Agency’s spying programs keep arising, and have been ever since former defense contracting employee Edward Snowden blew the whistle on the NSA spying on millions of Americans through their telephone data.
People are tired of their Fourth Amendment being trampled, which is what was displayed Saturday, as the Guardian reported. Activists held signs that said things such as “Stop Mass Surveillance” and “Thank you Ed Snowden”, and reportedly chanted slogans such as “No Secret Courts”.
Grassroots group ‘Stop Watching Us’ organized the rally, which hosted a number of speakers, including ‘Ron Paul Republican’ Congressman Justin Amash, former Congressman Dennis Kucinich, former senior NSA executive and whistleblower Thomas Drake, and former New Mexico Libertarian Governor Gary Johnson, among others.
“The NSA is spying on everyone’s personal communications. It’s operating without any meaningful oversight,” says ‘Stop Watching Us’ on its website.
‘Stop Watching Us’ calls itself a coalition of more than 100 public advocacy organizations and companies from across the political spectrum, which was developed in June of 2013 in order to demand that Congress investigate the full extent of the NSA’s spying programs.
In a letter to Congress, ‘Stop Watching Us’ requested that it immediately and publicly:
– 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 US 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 legal and regulatory reform to end unconstitutional surveillance;
– Hold accountable those public officials who are found to be responsible for this unconstitutional surveillance.
Reuters / Jonathan Ernst