'Restore the Fourth': Reddit, Mozilla, WordPress set for July 4 protest against NSA surveillance

Thousands of websites will launch a July 4 online protest against the NSA surveillance programs. Reddit, WordPress, and Mozilla will take part in the ‘Restore the Fourth’ campaign online, while live protests take place in cities across the US.

‘Restore the Fourth’ is aimed at restoring the fundamentals of
the Fourth Amendment — the part of the Bill of Rights which
protects citizens against unlawful searches and seizures.
Participants will display an online banner which reads, “This
4th of July, we stand by the 4th Amendment and against the U.S.
government’s surveillance of internet users.”

The campaign, which was spawned on Reddit, has the support of
several privacy and press freedom advocacy organizations,
including Mozilla, Free Press, the Electronic Frontier
Foundation, the Freedom of the Press Foundation, and
ColorOfChange.org.

The rally was largely organized by Fight for the Future — another
non-profit agency which fights against internet censorship. The
organization’s co-founder, Tiffiniy Cheng, said in a statement
that “the NSA programs that have been exposed are blatantly
unconstitutional, and have a detrimental effect on free speech
and freedom of press worldwide.”
The rally is expected to be
Fight for the Future’s largest online mobilization since its
actions against the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA).

But the protest doesn’t stop online. Organizers are planning live
protests in dozens of US cities, including New York,
Philadelphia, Boston, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, San
Francisco, Houston, and Atlanta. Doug MacArthur, a member of
Restore the Fourth’s national board and moderator on Reddit’s
r/news, expects between 10,000 and 20,000 people to take part in
the protests in the nation’s larger cities.

MacArthur stressed the need for the protest, largely because
mainstream media is failing to adequately cover the NSA leaks and
what that means for everyday citizens.


“I think if you are on social media right now and political
blogs, this might seem like it’s an issue that’s all over the
political blogs. But if you turn on CNN or Fox or MSNBC, you’ll
see that a lot of the more mainstream channels aren’t covering
this as much as you might be assuming. So I really think it’s
important we get more citizens aware of this issue,”
he said,
as quoted by Mashable.

Free Press CEO and President Craig Aaron echoed MacArthur’s
sentiments. “We need to bring these government and corporate
activities into the light of day, and the only way that will
happen is if millions more people get involved and demand
accountability, demand change, demand the truth,”
he said in
a Tuesday press conference.

However, it’s not just internet activists getting involved in the
fight — one Hollywood celebrity has been very vocal in expressing
his views on the NSA’s surveillance practices.

“How long do we expect rational people to accept using
terrorism to justify and excuse endless executive and state
power?”
actor John Cusack said during a press conference
announcing the protests. “Why are so many in our government,
our press, our intellectual class afraid of an informed
public?”

Cusack, who is a board member of the Freedom of the Press
Foundation, complained that many of those defending the NSA
surveillance programs are focusing on supposed character flaws of
former NSA contractor Edward Snowden instead of questioning the
program’s legality.

Harvey Anderson, senior vice president of business and legal
affairs at Mozilla, agrees with Cusack. He said in a statement
that the spotlight on Snowden is a “big distraction to avoid
focusing on the invasions that have actually been occurring.”

The lack of transparency about the surveillance programs
“undermines the openness of the internet,” he added.

There has been a massive outcry against the surveillance
practices since former NSA contractor Edward Snowden leaked
sensitive information in May. In just three weeks,
StopWatching.us has collected more than 531,000 signatures from
people calling for Congress to fully disclose details about the
NSA surveillance programs.

Snowden is currently held up in the international transit zone of
Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport. He is unable to travel as his
passport is invalid. Washington has issued an extradition order
against Snowden, calling for international cooperation in
returning him to American soil.

The whistleblower has so far made asylum requests for more than a
dozen countries, with ten nations already denying him refuge.
Venezuela says it will consider Snowden’s request when it is
received.

Republished with permission from: RT