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Want to Fight Government Domestic Spying? Join a 'Restore the Fourth' Protest This Independence Day

Rallies are planned in more than 100 cities coast to coast.
 
 
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A nationwide protest on the Fourth of July to declare independence from the federal government’s unconstitutional search and seizure of everyone’s Internet data trails and communications is gaining momentum.

Restore the Fourth is a grassroots, non-partisan, non-violent movement that seeks to organize and assemble nationwide protests on July 4, 2013. It currently plans demonstrations in more than 100 cities across America, protesting the disclosures by whistleblower Edward Snowden of unprecedented domestic spying.

The protesters will gather to demand that federal police and spy agencies adhere to the constitutionally dictated limits of the U.S. Constitution’s Fourth Amendment, which were written to stop the King of England from privacy-busting searches and seizure of evidence without a court authorization and search warrant.

“Restore the Fourth maintains that justification of the Fourth Amendment beyond the original text need not be given; the legitimacy of which is self-evident,” its website states, before quoting the Bill of Rights.

"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

The still unfolding warrantless wiretapping scandal is not a surprise to civil libertarians, who have fretted for years that the federal government or its subcontractors are spying on Americans. That has been going on since the heyday of the Cold War against communism 60 years ago. But what’s new and breathtaking is the growth of the so-called " national security state" in the Internet era, where the government routinely captures literally every digital communication and keeps that information in its data warehouses.

“The campaign calls particular attention to PRISM, a recently revealed project of the National Security Agency that allows the government broad access to the Internet traffic and other electronic communications of many users – including many Americans,” the Electronic Frontier Foundation explains.

“The Fourth Amendment of the Bill of Rights clearly protects all citizens’ assets, both digital and physical, against searches and seizures without warrant,” Restore The Fourth says, emphasizing that the hundreds of local protests “aim to assert those rights. They insist that the proper channels of government work to ensure that all policy complies with the supreme laws of the United States of America in their entirety.”

Restore the Fourth is one of many grassroots efforts that have arisen in recent weeks as Snowden’s whistleblowing disclosures have prompted federal authorities to admit they indeed have the electronic dragnet and have even lied to Congress about it, with the National Security Agency director apologizing for flat-out denying the agency’s data mining.

StopWatching.us has gathered more than half a million signers on its open e-mail letter to Congress. The attendees of these rallies will hear about how the federal spy and police agencies have used, abused and deliberately evaded the post-911 anti-terrorism laws to create a tsunami-like electronic dragnet.  

The groups have identified specific laws and paragraphs that they are demanding be repealed immediately. These include 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 U.S. is prohibited by law and that violations can be reviewed in adversarial proceedings before a public court,” StopWatching.us’s demand letter to Congress states.

Additionally, the groups are calling on Congress to “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.” And it wants specific high-ranking officials who ordered the surveillance held accountable.