Anti-NSA activists renew push to rein in federal surveillance

FREEDOM: U.S. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, R. Wis., is sponsor of the USA Freedom Act, which would rein in the federal government’s electronic expansive warrantless electronic surveillance apparatus.

By Josh Peterson | Watchdog.org

A coalition of progressive and libertarian anti-surveillance activists are hoping to once again leverage the Internet and marshal voter support against the National Security Agency.

On Tuesday, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the American Civil Liberties Union and a host of other civil liberties organizations, Internet companies, and nonprofit organizations are promoting a day of action against the agency’s surveillance activities.

As of 7:30 p.m. Monday, more than 5,800 websites signed up to add a banner to their front page that encourages visitors to contact their federal lawmakers to support the USA Freedom Act, which would rein in the federal government’s electronic expansive warrantless electronic surveillance apparatus.

The bill is sponsored by Wisconsin Republican U.S. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, author of the USA PATRIOT ACT, and Vermont Democratic U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy.

The defeat of Stop Online Piracy Act and the Protect IP Act in January 2012 boosted online activists confidence in their ability to leverage the Internet for protests.

Since then, the victors in that campaign have been searching for another opportunity to achieve a similar victory over government intrusion on the Internet.

State officials also are pushing back against federal government and law enforcement intrusion into digital privacy.

On Friday, several Maryland state lawmakers filed an emergency bill to end state cooperation with the NSA. The agency’s headquarters are based at Fort Meade, Md.

The Maryland bill is one of 13 similar bills pending before state legislatures across the nation that look to rein in the NSA and other law enforcement agencies.

Contact Josh Peterson at jpeterson@watchdog.org. Follow Josh on Twitter at @jdpeterson

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Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com, a columnist for the Forum News Service, and host of the Plain Talk Podcast which you can subscribe to by clicking here.

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