On October 26th, the anniversary of the USA PATRIOT Act, the StopWatching.Us coalition is holding the largest rally yet against the NSA's mass surveillance programs in Washington, DC.

Ask us anything about the lobby day on 10/25, the rally on 10/26, or the fight against NSA mass surveillance in general.

Momentum is building in Washington, but the NSA and the status quo won't back down without a fight. It's up to us to demand that our representatives put an end to mass surveillance, and on October 26th, that's exactly what we're doing to do.

  • RSVP to attend in person or online

  • Donate to the Indiegogo campaign to fund the rally and (stretch goal) help more people get to DC.

  • Volunteer to help increase turnout and organize transportation to the rally or a local viewing party

  • Lobby your representatives on Friday, October 25th

Friday, October 25th: Lobby day in DC. Coalition members will provide training on effective advocacy, then accompany you to a meeting with your representatives or their staff.

Saturday, October 26th: 12pm-3pm march to Capitol Hill and rally. Stand up for what you believe in with thousands of supporters, as well as speakers, musicians, and performers.

AMA Participants:

ACLU's Michelle Richardson (u/richardson_mich) Proof

Access' Katherine Maher (u/krmaher) Proof

Bill of Rights Defense Committee's Shahid Buttar (u/Shahid-Buttar)

Demand Progress' Charlie Furman (u/FurmanJR) Proof

Fight for the Future's Evan Greer (u/fightforthefuture) Proof

Free Press' Josh Levy (u/levjoy)

EFF's Mark Jaycox (u/jaycoxEFF) and Nate Cardozo (u/natecardozo) Proof

Internet Taskforce's Sina Khanifar (u/sinakh) Proof

Restore the Fourth's Ben Doernberg (u/neutralitymentality) Proof

Want to discuss the rally and coordinate plans after the AMA? Head to /r/restorethefourth

Comments: 605 • Responses: 82  • Date: 

vinni_f237 karma

Have you considered contacting retired politicians and retired ceos / high management from the corporations / agencies to join the movement and add their voices. People are often feeling remorse and guilt as they go older and see their past life from a different perspective. I feel like elders could be very useful in this fight.

natecardozo106 karma

We here at EFF are talking with a number of retired politicians who may join us for a couple of upcoming projects. Stay tuned!

fightforthefuture53 karma

This is a great idea. This is one of the most diverse coalitions I've ever worked with, and it's clear that this issue is something that people from literally every walk of life care about and are affected by. We've reached out to a massive array of people, but will be sure to keep elders and former leaders on our list.

soyspices23 karma

Sadly, these people don't grab the headlines as much as we wish. A couple of politicians would lead to a minute blurb on CNN. Did you see how much attention Rally to Restore Sanity achieved? Was it due to the political clout of its participants? No, it was because it had well liked celebrities. The bigger the name the bigger the sell. That being said, I don't think it would be too difficult to find big names that are behind this cause. My personal nerd favorite is Kevin Pereira. Great speaker, some celebrity and very passionate about the cause.

sinakh27 karma

We've been working on getting celebrities on board - stay tuned for announcements of live music acts and speakers over the next few weeks.

And if anyone has connections to any celebrities who care about the issue, please please let us know. You can use the "contact" button at the top right of the [rally.stopwatching.us](rally.stopwatching.us) site to let us know. Someone's gotta know Snoop Lion irl ...

AdamaLlama16 karma

Also, have you thought about having some kind of a repeating social media day? It Occurred to me that if people started treating every 4th of the month as a day to change their Facebook banner to a statement, their photo to Edward Snowden, and posting a status update linking to Restore the Fourth, this might be useful in getting more attention. I think this could become highly visible over time.

fightforthefuture8 karma

This is a cool idea. /r/Restorethe4th y'all should check this out.

BoardBuster4589 karma

What would need to happen in order for things to start changing? I know people protest all the time, but nothing's changing so far.

fightforthefuture122 karma

This is a great question, and it's important that we ask this every time we organize something, rather than just saying "hey I know we'll organize another protest."

But a quick look at history shows that we can't say nothing is changing. People have fought tooth and nail for many of the most basic freedoms that we enjoy today, and those freedoms must be constantly defended or things would be way worse than they are right now.

The way I see it, there isn't one single solution to NSA spying. It's going to take a massive social movement that the government can't ignore, and also a lot of brilliant technical people figuring out how to beef up encryption and security to make it way harder for agencies like the NSA to spy on everyone en masse.

Passing laws that limit the government's ability to spy on people is a good start, but we have to remember that they've broken (or interpreted in absurd ways) the laws that already exist, so the most important thing is to build a dedicated movement of people who are ready and willing to take action to hold the government and the companies that make up the internet accountable when they violate our rights.

Shahid-Buttar22 karma

Absolutely! The need for a movement to remain "ready and willing to take action" is critical.

In the near-term, I would simply caution us not to overlook legislation given (a) a chance to shift the goalposts and (b) the likelihood of co-optation by legislators eager to curry favor with netroots but hesitant to meaningful resist the national security establishment.

There are over a dozen bills in Congress, most of which would do relatively little, a handful (Amash, Leahy, Wyden-Udall) that would do a lot, and one (Holt) that would completely change / restore the constitutional paradigm. See http://www.constitutioncampaign.org/blog/?p=14922 for more....

dangersandwich17 karma

also a lot of brilliant technical people figuring out how to beef up encryption and security to make it way harder for agencies like the NSA to spy on everyone en masse.

Shameless plug for /r/netsec.

fightforthefuture21 karma

Heck yeah. Do it! We've been thinking we need a Netizen Security Agency that's well funded and basically works round the clock to counter the NSA. Who's in?

NewRoots4 karma


NeutralityMentality7 karma

There are a lot of smart people working on these problems, but they're very hard problems. Are you a programmer? If not, there's also a huge need for people who can help translate these programs into designs and experiences that work for the average non-technical person. That would be a great place to help, or even writing documentation.

fightforthefuture6 karma

There are some resources here: http://prism-break.org

We're working on developing more.

But as others have said, we need to balance individual solutions, ie how can we each protect ourselves technologically, with collective solutions, ie how can we hold our government accountable and force them to stop this outrageous violation of our privacy and most basic rights.

There's a huge number of people for whom using encryption is just way too outside their comfort zone, but they still deserve privacy. The only way to get it for them, for our children and our children's children is to fight this politically and fiercely.

oVoa4 karma

Do you think it would be feasible to push for a new amendment that protects privacy, or do you think it would be better accomplished through normal laws? I know that the court system has traditionally defined what privacy is, but it seems in recent years the answer differs wildly depending on just which judge you ask...

natecardozo18 karma

The NSA's bulk surveillance programs are illegal and unconstitutional under the law as it exists now. Both the Bush and Obama administrations have worked hard to make sure that no public court reaches the merits of the programs, and until now, they've been successful.

We (EFF) and ACLU have a number of active challenges that will place the legality of the programs squarely before the federal courts. As far as I know, there has been no talk of a new privacy amendment, but the idea is interesting!

levjoy22 karma

Two words: People power.

Here's the weird secret about Congress: When constituents talk, Congress listens. The problem is that regular people are constantly drowned out by corporations and other government agencies with deeper pockets and bigger megaphones.

But we've seen that as few as 3 constituents meeting with a member of Congress can help change bad policies. Tens of thousands speaking in unison about NSA spying can provide a counterbalance to the defense establishment and others who are pushing so hard for the ability to spy on us.

Shahid-Buttar8 karma

In my view, the key is to mount decentralized resistance that, by virtue of its decentralization, becomes ubiquitous. Mass rallies and protests are important (which is why we're all organizing the 10/26 actions together), but more important are the things that happen in between mobilizations.

See http://constitutioncampaign.org/campaigns/lawenforcement/ for an example of a campaign model predicated on building local coalitions across the partisan aisle. And feel free to reach out to us at organizing[at]bordc[dot]org if we can help provide training, coaching, resources, technical assistance, or further materials to help.

imjustsayintho2 karma

How would they know? Nothing they're doing does anything.

NeutralityMentality9 karma

Just curious, what are you basing that judgement on?

hungrydyke54 karma


NeutralityMentality37 karma

What aspect of it seems overwhelming? That there's too many things to do, or that they're all too difficult, or that it's not clear what will work? Or all of the above?

hungrydyke54 karma


NeutralityMentality26 karma

Well, this is always one of the debates of political action; how do you balance individual action (changing your behavior online, using encryption) and collective action (petitions, rallies). The real answer is always a combination of both, but I think this fight will be won by collective action.

Are your Senators and Rep. in the House on record on NSA surveillance? If so, have your friends and family make a quick call to the office and either thank them for their stance, or let them know you're disappointed. Contrary to popular belief, those calls really do make a difference, and they take less than 2 minutes.

For most people, getting rid of FB is just too big of an impact on their social life, and email encryption can be too complicated. I would focus on small ways for them to participate in collective action, and focus on the aspect of NSA surveillance that seems to bother them. Do they think it's creepy, are they worried it will be used to target political dissidents, are they upset it's unconstitutional, etc. Different concerns can be addressed different ways.

sinakh23 karma

For those of you having trouble convincing friends, family and coworkers of why this is important, I really highly recommend this article by Dan Gillmor:

What's the Best Way to Tell Your Mother and Your Bosses Why They Should Protest Surveillance?

Naked-Viking9 karma

I can relate to this issue, and to me, people just don't care. They just want a comforting lie that everything is fine. That surveillance isn't a big issue if you're not a criminal, bullshit like that.

NeutralityMentality15 karma

According to the latest AP poll, "close to 60 percent of Americans oppose the NSA's collection of data on telephone and Internet usage. A similar majority opposes the legal process supervised by a secret federal court that oversees the government's classified surveillance."

It's certainly understandable to be skeptical about our political process, but cynicism is a much bigger obstacle to winning this fight than apathy. If everyone who's posted on reddit that rallies are pointless shows up in DC, we'll have all this sorted out in no time!

Ravanas6 karma

Not who you replied to, but, all of the above. Also, motivating people to do them. Even my friends who agree with me don't come out to the events... and I'm the RT4 organizer in my area!

fightforthefuture2 karma

Getting people to come to stuff is hard! Happy to chat organizing strategy ideas any time if you want: team[at]fightforthefuture[dot]org

ryseff72453 karma

What is the best NSA reform bill that you've seen proposed/written in Congress?

Shahid-Buttar68 karma

the Surveillance State Repeal Act, introduced by Rep. Rush Holt (D-NJ). Hands down. See http://www.constitutioncampaign.org/blog/?p=14922 for more info.

fightforthefuture46 karma

Notably, the New York Times editorial board also endorsed the Surveillance State Repeal Act, which is a huge shift in the orientation of the media and the public: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/22/opinion/sunday/close-the-nsas-back-doors.html?_r=0

natecardozo18 karma

Mark Jaycox (jaycoxEFF on this AMA) wrote up EFF's guide to the bills currently pending. It doesn't have the very latest yet, but it's a great place to start: https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2013/08/effs-cheat-sheet

Shahid-Buttar5 karma

It's worth noting the diversity of legislative tactics here: Wyden-Udall-Paul vs. Conyers-Amash vs. Leahy-Lee vs. Holt (which will soon have a GOP co-sponsor).

Despite that diversity, our various organizations are working together to build a unified, transpartisan grassroots voice to ensure that Congress takes its constitutional role seriously, rather than continuing to rubber stamp executive authorities that degrade constitutional rights. We the People are all in this together.

cjf438 karma

Did any of you guys see South Park last night?

If not, it presented a pretty sharp counterpoint to this whole way of thinking. The argument was that it's absurd to complain about being watched when we broadcast so much about ourselves anyway. Another point they made was, 99.9% have absolutely nothing of NSA interest going on in our lives anyway.

Would be interested to here your response(s).

NeutralityMentality51 karma

I didn't see it, but I'll definitely watch it tonight! The rest of my answers are uninformed guesses as to the points the show made, so apologies if I'm off base:

  • There are two really important differences between Facebook and your friends knowing a lot about your life, and the NSA knowing the same information (although in practice, it's far more). The first difference is consent. Like most things in life, gathering information about someone with their consent is not very similar to doing it without their consent. In this case, the NSA's been doing things without consent, lying to keep it secret, and even sabotaging and breaking digital locks to do what they're doing. The second difference is that Facebook and Twitter don't have jails and police forces.
  • I think it's very interesting that the rally in the show was called "Stop Listening to ME", whereas the real rally is "Stop Watching US." The fact is, programs like this in many ways have bigger impacts on the fabric society as a whole than they do on most individuals at a particular point in time. I've already found myself thinking twice before making a joke in an email, or visiting a website, or signing a petition online. It may not change my daily life too much to have a voice in the back of my head that says "how will this look to the NSA in 5 years", but over time it will have a very negative impact on freedom of speech and the types of political and social conversations that happen in our society.
  • Sometimes the NSA turns information over to the DEA and the IRS, and then those agencies figure out another way to pretend to discover the information they already have. Then they lie in court about where the information came from. This technique is called parallel construction, and it means that none of us can be sure whether the information the NSA collects could impact our lives or not.

juanjing2 karma

Like most things in life, gathering information about someone with their consent is not very similar to doing it without their consent.

This sounds right, but it's more complex than that in my opinion. People post all manners of personal information on the internet. Most of the time, there are terms of service, or fine print that goes unread.

The fourth amendment protects our "persons, houses, papers, and effects". Does it protect information we put online willingly? If I post my email address and phone number to my Facebook profile, aren't I giving consent for people to find it by doing so?

Also, let's throw a hypothetical situation in just for fun: I have never committed a crime. I am Facebook friends with my 2nd cousin in law who sends me a bunch of game requests, but we don't really talk that much except about the upcoming family reunion. Turns out my 2nd cousin law is part of a domestic terror group, and he blew up a bunch of laboratories to combat animal testing. Needless to say, his contacts are going to be looked into. At that point, I would fully expect my name, address, phone number, pictures of me, lists upon lists of my likes and dislikes, and all of my friends' names, addresses etc. to become "evidence" in the case against him. It might not be relevant, but now they have it. My question is: How is this different from being in an address book or any kind of physical directory found in his house? Just because it's online should I expect some other level of privacy not previously available? Personally, I expect less privacy. All of the information I put online about myself is not stored on my person, or in my house, papers, or effects... It's stored "in the cloud".

Sorry for being long winded, but my issue with all of this is that I feel that the onus is on us to have a reasonable expectation of privacy. I think a lot of the gray area arguments come from the definition of the word "reasonable". I think once you put it online, it's gone, man.

NeutralityMentality4 karma

This deserves a really great answer, but I'm super tired, so I'll do my best with a short reply. You're right that it hinges on the question of what "reasonable" is, and that's something society decides. Do we want to live in a world where every piece of information about us is fair game to law enforcement? I don't. I think that's unreasonable. That's part of the fight here.

ryseff72427 karma

How can we help with the rally and the cause if we can't attend?

fightforthefuture27 karma

Awesome question. We're going to have a really professional livestream for the event, and we're hoping that folks who can't attend will organize viewing parties in their areas. You can still RSVP at http://rally.stopwatching.us even if you're unable to attend, and you'll be kept in the loop about other ways to participate.

We also really need everyone who can to donate so that others can attend: http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/stop-watching-us-a-rally-against-nsa-surveillance-on-october-26th--2

And, as always, you can take action by tweeting, sharing, emailing everyone you know who lives within a few hours of DC and asking them to attend. Become an organizer! Do you know of any activist organizations, unions, faith based groups, or celebrities who should endorse this rally? Contact them and tell them to contact us!

NeutralityMentality5 karma

All of this is great advice. I'd also make sure you fill out the rally volunteer form!

Shahid-Buttar8 karma

The first thing I'd recommend is to share the link to the rally details (https://rally.stopwatching.us/) with your online social networks.

You could also consider organizing a solidarity rally wherever you live, or even just a public education event to pull people together, provide information and updates, and build a sense of community among them. A private screening of "Terms & Conditions" may be one relatively light lift that, if you promote it in advance and then collect information from attendees, could help you start a local grassroots base to continue building over time.

levjoy10 karma

Also you can donate to our Indiegogo campaign, which we're using to raise funds to organize this big undertaking: http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/stop-watching-us-a-rally-against-nsa-surveillance-on-october-26th--2/x/4179238

pteronura15 karma

How can I, a Canadian, support you guys?

natecardozo18 karma

So glad you asked!

We did an 8-part series of blog posts on this very question. https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2013/spies-without-borders

Furthermore, international supporters are most definitely invited to sign the petition here: https://action.eff.org/o/9042/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=9297

The petition asks major US tech companies to themselves call on Congress to end the spying!

NeutralityMentality1 karma

You could definitely support our Indiegogo campaign to help us throw a successful rally and help more people get there

butterybiscuit14 karma

Do you think the spying will ever really end? Even if a bill passed, would the government continue to do it and just apologize when it's wrong?

Also, do you think this change can have any negative consequences as well?

fightforthefuture27 karma

Personally I think that the U.S. Government will continue to spy on individuals if they want to. What we're trying to do is make it much, much harder for them to constantly be watching everyone all the time.

As I've said in response to another question, I can't imagine a scenario where remaining silent on this issue would make us safer than being loud about it. Whatever changes we get will help move things in the right direction, and we can use those victories to continue to bolster the movement.

It's important that we build a culture where people are generally antagonistic to the government snooping into their private lives. The more we can do that, the better off we'll be in the long run.

marcabminion12 karma

How much of your (EFF) funding is from Humble Bundle? (if you can say)

(that's where I learned of you)

Keep fighting the good fight. /me supports.

edit: added EFF to make the question directed at the right entity

natecardozo20 karma

We (EFF) love Humble Bundle! I don't have numbers, since I'm a lawyer not a fundraiser, but I know that their support has been significant!

JaycoxEFF14 karma

EFF's Development Team would know the exact number, but I'm pretty sure it's also in our Annual Report, posted here: https://www.eff.org/about.

marcabminion6 karma

Not yet, because Humble Bundle started in May 2010, and the annual reports on the site are up until June 2010.

But never-mind good sir, I can tell it's a fair bit and that's fantastic. It's also a great source of spreading the word.

JaycoxEFF11 karma

I'll check with the Development team and make sure the most recent reports are going up.

marcabminion5 karma

Thank you kindly, but don't let it take time away from more important matters please.

NeutralityMentality17 karma

Man, you're going to feel super guilty when the EFF starts losing all its court cases because all the lawyers are updating the Humble Bundle stats :)

ryanznock11 karma

Right now this protest is only engaging those who are already interested in the issue.

Do you have any advertising budget to make issue ads? It's not an election year, but I feel like people are only seeing this from the news, and not during their entertainment?

Have you contacted any potential backers to get funding for a public awareness campaign?

fightforthefuture4 karma

People are coming out of the woodwork to care about this issue, and we've been finding innovative ways to reach them. Though certainly a big donation to help with an ad campaign wouldn't hurt!

The StopWatching.us petition garnered more than 560,000 signatures from all kinds of people, companies, and celebrities.

On July 4th, the Internet Defense League organized an action that engaged millions of people by getting participation from popular websites including 4chan, Reddit, Wordpress, Imgur, Oreilly, and Boing Boing.

We're raising funds on IndieGoGo to support logistics and outreach for the Oct 26 rally, so if you'd like to see ads, share that and tell everyone to donate!

liftbro_unlimited10 karma

Why not elect Cartman as your political leader? He can easily infiltrate the NSA a second time.

sinakh6 karma

We've been trying to reach Cartman about his Stop Listening To Me effort, we'd love to partner with him. I for one speaker-talk all day long.

70Charger9 karma

How much do you worry about whether your efforts will push surveillance further under the radar? For example, if you gain some victories, will they only exist in name? Will the powers that be simply classify them more strongly, or shroud them in even more secrecy? How do you really know whether what you're doing has an effect?

fightforthefuture9 karma

I think this is a valid concern to have, but from everything we've learned from Snowden and other whistleblowers, it's clear that while agencies like the NSA are happy to bend the rules, those rules do make a huge difference in what they do. The more restrictions we can place on government surveillance, the more difficult it will be for them to constantly watch everyone all the time.

These agencies are not invincible. We need to push for maximum transparency so that as many people as possible are aware of what they're doing and how.

It's hard to imagine that things would be better if we remained silent about this issue than if we continue to make noise about it and do everything in our power to make the NSA's lives harder.

natecardozo6 karma

In the last few months, NSA surveillance and our fight to stop it have received far more attention than ever before.

If we win in Congress, and get a strong bill to end the bulk collection programs, the NSA must comply. In our constitutional system, Congress makes the law and the Executive enforces it. Is it possible that they'll continue the program in the face of Congress' explicit rejection? I guess anything is possible, but we have to try.

quezlar9 karma

keep fighting the good fight guys

the free people that live in these united states are with you

fightforthefuture6 karma

Thanks! Hope to see you in DC! If you can't attend please share the link to the rally on social media: http://rally.stopwatching.us

zejmedia9 karma

where is ISOC on this?

natecardozo6 karma

I'll be participating in an ISOC conversation with Alex Abdo (ACLU) next week. https://www.internetsociety.org/inet-san-francisco/

The topic of the evening is: What is the best path forward for public policy to take in protecting individual rights of U.S. citizens from intelligence-gathering activities by government agencies?

That should give you some idea of where they are!

redhaski9 karma

How do you argue with people who say "well I've got nothing to hide"?

natecardozo16 karma

The "nothing to hide" argument is a perennial problem, but it's based on a false assumption. As Alex Abdo at ACLU wrote you may have nothing to hide, but you still have something to fear. When the government is watching, citizens are less likely take controversial stances, advocate for social change, and associate with those on the fringes of society.

When discussing the freedom of speech, you don't hear people ask "well I've got to say, why should I care about free speech?" We care about free speech so that everyone is free to express themselves. We care about privacy so that everyone is free to do the brave work of democracy without fear.

GoogleOpenLetter8 karma

Have you considered orchestrating strongly directed pressure at specific Congressman in regards to holding James Clapper in contempt of Congress? I'm unaware of the specifics of whether it has to be the same committee he was reporting to, and I think that he'd likely be found not guilty, BUT it's an ugly public process. Congressional hearings get a lot of exposure on such matters, and the more air time showing what happened, the better.

Shahid-Buttar10 karma

You're onto something here. Clapper is a criminal of the worst kind, as we and others have said before, in more than a few places:

-- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZDEieNZfpsI

-- http://www.progressive.org/snowden-nsa

-- http://www.constitutioncampaign.org/blog/?p=14458 (juxtaposing the wanton impunity for severe executive crimes against the ongoing atrocity of mass incarceration)

-- http://www.citizensforethics.org/legal-filings/entry/crew-calls-on-doj-to-investigate-dni-clapper-for-lying-to-congress (ie don't just take our word for it)

GoogleOpenLetter5 karma

I see this fight as being difficult to organise due to the diversity of constituents affected and the lack of lobbying support from large companies(it's in their best interests to not be involved).

For one, I think organising on a Friday seems like a bad idea from a press standpoint. It's used in the news cycle as trash day, where unpopular public statements are flushed out all at once to dilute and dissolve over the weekend. However, if it's just about lobbying then it makes much more sense. I think having the last protest on July 4th was a terrible idea idea from a publicity perspective also.

Going back to my statement about Clapper - do you have any specific plans to achieve the goal of trying him for contempt? I'd love to work with you guys as a strategist, and I think it could realistically be achieved with some serious planning and a lot of luck.

NeutralityMentality7 karma

I can't speak to the political potential of going after Clapper directly, but I can fill in on the plan for the weekend. Friday is, as you suggested, solely focused on lobbying, not a publicity event. Saturday will be the rally with the Capitol Building as a backdrop, and (if we raise enough with the Indiegogo) we'll have a videographer and editor make sure there's top-notch video ready to go out on the news ASAP.

[deleted]8 karma


natecardozo6 karma

compliancecamp7 karma

It has long seemed to me that the only way to stop (and, ideally, punish) the abuses and lawbreaking being carried out by the elites is to remove them from power, since as long as they are in power, they control the justice system. This would mean however "the good guys" actually taking power (as in taking control of the government), but as far as I can tell, there is no real strategy for doing so. Why do we seem so content to remain so powerless and allow the current ruling elite to remain in power?

fightforthefuture5 karma

That's exactly why we're organizing this rally! Sure, politicians have a lot of a certain type of power, but their power runs out pretty quickly when they lose all public support. When people organize together and build relationships and solidarity, they have grassroots power that can't be taken away.

This rally is an initial show of our power. It's a way to tell our elected officials to take this issue seriously, or they'll have made a powerful foe out of their own constituents.

EdwardRec7 karma

I'll be honest. I am European, unrelated. But I like what you guys are doing and support you all. Keep up the good work.

Greetings from Latvia


natecardozo5 karma

Thanks for your support!

PizzaxBoy7 karma

Hello guys, I just have ask you guys a quick question. I signed your petition for stopwathingus a while back, and I'd like to know if the petition has affected or changed anything with the outcome of the NSA to stop spying on us. Anyways thanks for the AMA, and have a good day.

fightforthefuture9 karma

Shahid is right. Not long ago, members of Congress were falling all over each other to defend the governments' spying practices. Now they're falling all over each other to pass bills they say will protect our privacy. The StopWatching.us petition helped garner massive mainstream media attention and has been a center point of a growing movement, and an opportunity for groups to come together from across the political spectrum. It's a powerful starting point and the rally is the next step.

NeutralityMentality9 karma

It's hard to say what impact came from the 570,000 signatures, and what impact came from the passion that drove all those people to sign the petition. The fact is, DC insiders were blown away that the Amash Amendment even made it to the floor for a vote, let alone almost passed. That would never have happened if lawmakers weren't hearing about the NSA from their constituents, full stop.

A big part of the rally is going to involve delivering all those petition signatures in a dramatic way, so they haven't fulfilled their whole purpose yet!

Shahid-Buttar6 karma

Responding to the grassroots firestorm from across the country, members of Congress have introduced over a dozen bills to curtail NSA spying. It's great that you signed the petition. Now do more! Download the action toolkit at http://bordc.org/august_recess/2013%20August%20Recess%20Final.pdf and let us know if you have questions.

BigCat90006 karma

What is a rally actually going to accomplish? Unless you plan on turning this rally into a mob equipped with pitchforks and torches and are intending on storming the capital building and forcibly removing the congress and installing new leaders I don't see what this does. Have you thought about the mob thing?

After reading through some of your answers you've hinted at the fact that even a bill to stop surveillance wouldn't be a guarantee and go on to make the point that "the most important thing is to build a dedicated movement of people who are ready and willing to take action to hold the government and the companies that make up the internet accountable when they violate our rights."

What "action" could possibly accomplish this?

BetweenTheWaves4 karma

You already stated what action could be done; mob the capitol and replace those in power. That being said, I'm becoming pessimistic as most of the questions answered so far are the "easy" ones, pandering to the best interest of the movement.

The hard questions, like "what exactly will this accomplish" and "do you really think this will change the minds of the law makers" are not getting answered.

NeutralityMentality7 karma

We're in a unique position, as there are some very clear tangible goals that we're very close to accomplishing. The Amash Amendment vote was only lost by 7 legislators; if we can convince 7 legislators that it is in their political interest to vote differently next time, then we'll have ended the domestic call record program. A large rally and the press attention that comes with it absolutely can be instrumental in making that happen, especially when it's backed by a lawmaker's constituents coming in on Friday to make demands face-to-face.

G_Orwell4 karma

While I agree with you that 7 votes isn't a great deal, it looks, to me at least, that interest in this is waning. That, unfortunately, means it's going to be more difficult to get those seven votes.

NeutralityMentality6 karma

Everything I've heard and seen from people who are experts on these matters (DC insiders and journalists) indicates that this fight is very winnable. It looks like if the Amash vote were held again today, we'd win. What makes you think that our chances have gotten worse?

oVoa6 karma

What are you attempting to accomplish with this rally? Tentatively, what would you like to see happen next?

fightforthefuture8 karma

There are a host of bills in Congress that could significantly impact the NSA's ability to spy on all of us all the time. We'd like to see the strongest ones pass, as a starting point.

But just as importantly, I hope this rally will be a solidifying moment for the new and growing movement against mass government surveillance. We need to give people inspiration and let them know that they don't need to take these privacy invasions lying down.

We have won major victories in the past to defend our rights against government and corporate abuses, but it never happens over night. This rally is a manifestation of a movement that has grown faster than nearly any other I've ever seen, and it's only the beginning. Get ready for the fight to come.

NeutralityMentality6 karma

Well, right now there are a ton of different bills being proposed by various lawmakers (the ACLU has a handy chart here, though it doesn't have bills from this week yet). Some of them are great, some of them are weak, and some of them are total distractions that won't help at all.

If we can demonstrate that people are paying attention, and care, it makes it much harder for legislators to support one of the crap bills and then go home and claim they've solved the problem. Some of these bills are going to pick up steam, others won't, and our energy and visibility can play a role in that process.

dancarey_4046 karma

When will you be announcing the physical locations for the start of the rally and for the Friday training?

NeutralityMentality4 karma

Probably in the next week or so. It'll all be right in the Capitol Hill area, so the exact locations shouldn't change anyone's travel plans or anything like that.

Grazsrootz5 karma

seriously considering signing up. You are doing great work!

fightforthefuture6 karma

Glad you're considering! Please do! We'll keep you in the loop and provide resources to make it easier to attend.

jmdugan5 karma

I want to help and participate, but I can't make it to DC on that date.

What are my options? Will there be a rally in my city?

NeutralityMentality3 karma

There'll be a way for people to participate, with viewing parties for the livestream and we're working on other possibilities too. I'd RSVP to get more updates on that.

woodmoon5 karma

Guys, attend this rally! It doesn't take any effort, and it's your country's future at stake. Take those 3 hours out of your day and just BE THERE. That's all it takes.

Good luck to everyone involved!

NeutralityMentality4 karma

Damn, well said.

JrujReport5 karma

I have started an ACLU chapter on my campus. How can I be best of service to the cause? What types of things are most productive, useful?


fightforthefuture5 karma

That's great! We have some ideas for campus groups who want to work on Internet Freedom issues. Get in touch? team[at]fightforthefuture[dot]org

In general, i'd say you should try to focus as much as possible on coalition building on campus. Figure out how to talk about civil liberties issues and how they connect to all the other things students care about. When you organize events, get as many groups as possible to work with you. Bring in awesome and engaging speakers and performers and have a longterm plan for turning those events into ORGANIZING, not just spectatorship.

imayposteventually5 karma

Hi. I live in Canada, right on the US/Canada border. (Detroit/Windsor) How much cross border "watching" do you think goes on?

Thanks for what you are doing, if "The land of the free" settles for what is currently happening, we can't be far behind with our current "leader."

ProfessorPaulKrugman5 karma

Hey there, I'd like to say thanks for you guys are doing, I think it is great work.

I'm just wondering if you'd ever consider either talking the ACLU into fighting for the 2nd Amendment as well as the rest... or asking the NRA to join in your fight?

After all, what is all your barking going to do with out the threat of sharp teeth?

fightforthefuture9 karma

We did reach out to the NRA, and nearly every other political organization both left and right about this rally. The coalition that has formed is from all over the place politically from Code Pink to the Libertarian Party. That's part of what makes us strong.

natecardozo7 karma

EFF's case against the NSA's bulk collection program (https://www.eff.org/cases/first-unitarian-church-los-angeles-v-nsa) includes a major Second Amendment group, the Calguns Foundation, as one if the plaintiffs. It's a First Amendment case, to be sure, but we have allies across the spectrum!

jeffco5554 karma

As an individual in the middle of starting up a state level organization dealing specifically with privacy issues, what advice can you give me that will assist me in my endeavors?

sinakh3 karma

Awesome! Power to you. My main advice would be that to reach out to other national and local groups doing the same sorts of things. There are lots of other individuals and organizations working on these issues: reach out to them and you'll find they're really willing to help.

nosecohn4 karma

US-based cloud service providers stand to lose a lot of money in the wake of NSA surveillance revelations. Have you had any success bringing them into your movement?

sinakh6 karma

Yep! Rackspace is paying our server costs and are supporters.

sinakh4 karma

I just want to highlight two of the really sweet perks that are part of our Indiegogo Campaign:

  • Printed copies of the original PRISM story signed by Glenn Greenwald.
  • Printed copies of the cover of the Pentagon Papers signed by Daniel Ellsberg.

soulsreddit4 karma

I want so badly to help and be a part of this. Passionate is an understatement for how I feel. Where can I go to link up with a volunteer for transportation to the event?

NeutralityMentality3 karma

It's really encouraging that you're so passionate! If you RSVP, you'll get more information about transportation. Where are you based?

sinakh3 karma

Awesome, we'd love to have you.

Volunteer link

G_Orwell3 karma

As serious as this issue is, does it bother you that right now, considering what you are trying to do, you only have a total of three questions? What does that say about how not only the majority of the American public but the supposedly in0the-know online community seems to perceive this?

NeutralityMentality10 karma

It says that we were up really late last night getting everything ready for the launch, and so we didn't spread the link very widely in advance :(

EDIT: up to 79 comments, also might say it's not fair to judge an AMA only 4 minutes in :)

platypusmusic1 karma

nobody knows about this ama. they haven't even linked this ama from their sub /r/restorethefourth yet (a sub mind you with neofascist douglasmacarthur as censor)

NeutralityMentality2 karma

Thanks for the reminder, just linked!

bigp3rm3 karma

Worst AMA ever. They are hand picking random replies and not directly answering questions being asked.

NeutralityMentality3 karma

There are a ton of questions and at least several of us were up all night getting ready for the launch. What would you like answered?

InfamousT123 karma

This might not be the best place to ask but are any of these organizations looking for summer interns for the next year?

Edit: Awesome, thank you both for the responses

NeutralityMentality3 karma

Definitely a tough place to ask. I would research the different organizations, figure out what kind of work sounds most interesting (blogging? organizing events? policy? social media campaigns? fundraising?), and go from there.

B1GTOBACC03 karma

For those unable to come to DC, is there any nationwide coordinated action happening on the 25th/26th?

NeutralityMentality3 karma

RSVP and you'll get more information about local viewing parties and other ways to participate. If you have any ideas, definitely let me know!

nogre3 karma

What would be the single worst possible thing to happen?

NeutralityMentality5 karma

Nothing. If it turns out the government's been spying on everyone and lying about it, and nothing changes, then we're in trouble. Luckily that's not what's going to happen!

nogre3 karma

Since nothing gets us into trouble, it seems that we are already in trouble. What do you think will be the turning point in this battle?

My compliments on the ninja edit.

NeutralityMentality6 karma

Well, obviously we think this will be the turning point! The lobby day will, I think, be really effective in driving home to lawmakers that their constituents are watching, and care enough to travel from all areas of the country. The rally will help in a lot of ways, not just as a show of numbers but also in connecting different people who care about these issues and bringing together an incredibly diverse coalition of groups unlike really any other coalition I can think of.

Toyou4yu3 karma

Why do you care about the NSA and PRISIM, it's not like the government is actually looking at the information about you unless you are thought to be a threat to National Security?

JaycoxEFF8 karma

This is a pretty common misconception. News reports and leaks have uncovered extensive willful and technical abuse of the programs. The programs under Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act include "Upstream" collection--which involves the NSA collecting information off of the telecommunications fibernetwork--and PRISM--which involves online companies handing over data after receiving a court order.

For instance we've learned that NSA analysts have used the programs to spy on significant others and we've also learned that NSA analysts have searched communications--including Americans' communications. The Washington Post article above mentions one instance where an NSA analyst searched all communications for messages that contained "Ericsson" and "radio" or "radar."

Leaving aside these violations, it's not merely about the actual searching--it's about the collection. The Fourth Amendment was created to stop this exact type of mass collection of innocent Americans' information. Back then, the British used "general warrants," which were broad, vague warrants used to collect colonists personal papers and other information en masse.

jonnyclueless4 karma

Can you name some of the cases where people have gone to jail based on information obtained illegally by the NSA?

NeutralityMentality6 karma

Well, as it turns out we wouldn't necessarily know that it happened. When the DEA or IRS receive intel from the NSA, they then try and figure out another way they could have found the information, and then lie in court and say that's how they caught someone. They call it "parallel construction." Reuters

MyRepetitionIsThis3 karma

I see that one of your donation options is to sponsor a bus. Any chance you're planning on providing buses so people on the West Coast could attend, if funding allows?

NeutralityMentality5 karma

If funding allowed, we'd love to provide buses to everyone who needs one. Realistically, the cost from the west coast will probably be too much to cover, but maybe there are companies or groups on the West Coast who'd be interested in sponsoring a trip? Definitely worth checking!

Shakespearhead3 karma

I just want to say thank you. please let us know if there will be anything i can do to help in la

NeutralityMentality5 karma

Fill out the volunteer form!

EternaTea2 karma

Where can I go to find somebody organizing a ride from my area?

NeutralityMentality2 karma

RSVP and you'll get more info on that. Where are you based?

sinakh2 karma

If you sign up on the homepage we'll be in touch about buses from your area!

damontoo2 karma

My county in California has hired a contractor that plans to use plate tracking, and cell/GPS data for traffic analysis. The part that bothers me is they claim that they're going to use the plate numbers to look up peoples names and addresses from DMV records to send surveys. Something that I didn't think was possible for anyone to do. Is it possible? Is it legal? Who should I contact to stop it?

Edit: Article about it.

NeutralityMentality4 karma

License plate tracking is an issue that the ACLU has done research on. You might think about filing some freedom of information act requests to find out more about how the system works, I can connect you with someone who's filed requests like that in the past in regards to license plate readers if you'd like.

damontoo3 karma

That would be great. I tried calling the ACLU's SF office last week to ask about this but couldn't get through. Also, there doesn't appear to be any public emails for questions. Only phone numbers. Found that a little odd.

Anyway, yeah, if you could maybe PM me that info after you guys are done fielding questions that would be awesome.

NeutralityMentality3 karma

Sorry, I'm with Restore the Fourth not the ACLU, but PM me a reminder and I'll connect you with the RT4 guy. Looks like an ACLU doc here

juliunruly2 karma

What's the best way to respond to people in my life who aren't very educated about this issue, and take the "Well I don't have anything to hide, so why should I care?" stance?

natecardozo2 karma

Copying and pasting an earlier answer: The "nothing to hide" argument is a perennial problem, but it's based on a false assumption. As Alex Abdo at ACLU wrote you may have nothing to hide, but you still have something to fear. When the government is watching, citizens are less likely take controversial stances, advocate for social change, and associate with those on the fringes of society.

When discussing the freedom of speech, you don't hear people ask "well I've got to say, why should I care about free speech?" We care about free speech so that everyone is free to express themselves. We care about privacy so that everyone is free to do the brave work of democracy without fear.

commonSens3-1 karma

With regard to the ACLU track record, how do you expect to be taken seriously? At this point you will probably just be doing more harm just by the mere association of your organization with this topic.

NeutralityMentality1 karma