For Immediate Release
Largest-ever Rally Against Mass Surveillance on USA PATRIOT Act Anniversary Announced by Diverse Coalition of 100 + Organizations
WASHINGTON - As the Senate Judiciary and Intelligence Committees plan upcoming hearings on U.S. surveillance programs and data collection, the StopWatching.Us coalition today announced that it will bring thousands to the nation’s capital to rally against mass surveillance. The mobilization will commence with a lobby day on Friday, October 25th -- demanding Congress investigate the NSA’s mass surveillance programs, ban blanket surveillance of telephone and Internet activity, and pursue accountability for any officials who mislead lawmakers and the American people -- and culminate in a petition delivery of over 570,000 signatures during the largest-ever rally against mass surveillance on Saturday, October 26th, the anniversary of the signing of the USA PATRIOT Act.
RALLY WEBSITE: rally.stopwatching.us
INDIEGOGO CAMPAIGN: http://igg.me/at/
WHAT: Stop Watching Us: Rally Against Mass Surveillance
WHEN: Sat., Oct. 26, 12–3 p.m.
WHERE: Capitol Hill
“Since the revelations in June about the NSA’s spying programs, more than 550,000 people have spoken out against mass government surveillance," said Josh Levy, Internet campaign director of Free Press. "But we cannot stop there. It's going to take millions of people – including Congress – to hold the NSA accountable and to change the laws that have enabled these spying programs in the first place."
"This rally builds on the grassroots passion that launched protests in 80 cities on July 4th,” said Ben Doernberg, Chair of Restore the Fourth. “The latest AP poll found that ‘close to 60 percent of Americans oppose the NSA's collection of data on telephone and Internet usage’, and we’re counting on that public support to make this event a success. Today we’re launching an Indiegogo campaign to crowdfund the rally, and volunteers across the country will be helping organize rideshares and buses so as many people as possible can rally in DC.” Perks for the Indiegogo campaign include an original The Guardian PRISM article signed by Glenn Greenwald and copies of the Pentagon Papers signed by whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg.
Saturday’s rally, in view of the Capitol Building, will feature speakers and performers from across the political spectrum. “The diversity of this coalition should surprise no one: freedom and privacy are fundamental American values that transcend the left-right divide,” said Michelle Richardson, legislative counsel at the ACLU’s Washington Legislative Office.
The StopWatching.Us coalition, which The Atlantic Wire called “perhaps the most diverse collection of groups in the modern history of American politics,” is comprised of more than 100 organizations, companies, and public figures. Coalition members include Access, ACLU, Bill of Rights Defense Committee, the Center for Democracy and Technology, Code Pink, Demand Progress, EFF, Fight for the Future, Free Press, FreedomWorks, the Libertarian Party, Mozilla, Public Knowledge, reddit, Restore the Fourth, Students for Liberty and ThoughtWorks.
“Four months ago, we received clear evidence that governments don’t see the Internet the way we do,” said Charlie Furman of Demand Progress. “They seem to think an “open Internet” means an Internet where our communications are open for the taking. By scraping and storing information about all of us they’ve done more than violate our privacy – they’ve undermined our democracy by keeping secrets from and lying to the public over and over again.”
“The more we learn about the NSA’s programs, the clearer it becomes that this mass surveillance system is in fact making the Internet, and the world, a less safe place for everyone,” said Evan Greer of Fight for the Future. “We don’t need to wait for more abuses to be exposed. It’s time for people to take action to defend the Internet we love and protect our most basic rights.”
"The Obama administration has repeatedly emphasized these programs only target ‘foreigners,’ but fundamental human rights apply regardless of citizenship,” said Brett Solomon, Executive Director of Access. “The defense of the fundamental rights of people around the world is a cornerstone of American values, and these programs undermine that."
StopWatching.us is a coalition of more than 100 public advocacy organizations and companies from across the political spectrum. We came together in June 2013 to demand the U.S. Congress investigate the full extent of the NSA's spying programs. Go here to read our letter to U.S. Congress demanding accountability and reform.