If the government had its way, no one would have any idea that it regularly tracks all of our phone calls and much of our online activity.
But thanks to Edward Snowden's disclosures, we now know quite a bit more about how the NSA's surveillance programs have infiltrated our personal communications. And thanks to the outrage and mobilization of the American people, we're seeing real potential for change, both in the streets and in Congress.
This Saturday, you can join the growing movement calling on the government to get out of our private lives, at the biggest protest yet against NSA spying. Organized by the StopWatching.Us coalition – a group of 100 organizations, companies, and public figures – the rally has received the support of celebrities, politicians, and the whistleblower responsible for the robust public debate that has come out of his disclosures. In a statement Snowden provided the ACLU, he writes:
In the last four months, we've learned a lot about our government.
We've learned that the U.S. intelligence community secretly built a system of pervasive surveillance. Today, no telephone in America makes a call without leaving a record with the NSA. Today, no internet transaction enters or leaves America without passing through the NSA's hands. Our representatives in Congress tell us this is not surveillance. They're wrong.
Now it's time for the government to learn from us. On Saturday, the ACLU, EFF, and the rest of the StopWatching.Us coalition are going to D.C. Join us in sending the message: Stop Watching Us.
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The rally, which takes place on the 12th anniversary of the signing of the Patriot Act into law, will bring together diverse groups from across the political spectrum to demand surveillance law reform. Speakers include Laura Murphy, the director of the ACLU's Washington Legislative Office; former senior NSA executive and whistleblower Thomas Drake; and Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.), whose bipartisan bill to reform the NSA was defeated in July by only seven votes. You can see a list of other speakers, along with the details of the rally, here. And check out the video below, produced by the EFF – featuring Maggie Gyllenhaal, John Cusack, Oliver Stone, and other familiar faces – discussing the dangers of NSA spying.
The slew of bills that have been introduced (and are about to be introduced) to reform the NSA signal that the American people are ready to rein in the surveillance state. This Saturday is your opportunity to make your voice heard. Follow @ACLU_Action and #StopWatchingUs for up-to-the-minute info, and even if you can't make it in person, you can join our photo campaign and add your name to the petition calling on the government to respect our privacy. See you there!