News Data Shows Uphill Battle for Privacy Activists


Restore the Fourth

 

By Becky Hogan

Many Americans are outraged at the scope of data mining secretly conducted by the US government that has recently come to light.

The latest leaks last week revealed that the National Security Agency’s XKeyscore program makes browsing history, searches, content of your emails, online chats, and even your metadata available to NSA analysts.

In response, thousands of Americans held rallies across the country on Sunday to protest the recently revealed surveillance program run by the NSA.  Protesters gathered in San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Washington, St. Louis, Raleigh, and other cities.
The protests are part of the national Restore the Fourth movement, which held its first protest on July 4 and designated August 4 “1984 Day.”
But national news coverage shows that national security still far outpaces privacy.  And as terrorist threats in the Middle East have renewed national security fears, the question lingers as to whether a national debate about the scope of government snooping will ever really catch on.

Privacy

It seems a lot of the outrage over individual privacy is erupting at the state level.

Mashable.com recently featured Montana State Rep. Daniel Zolonikov as an advocate for online privacy. The 26-year old state legislator sponsored a bill in that later became the first law in the United States to require police to get a warrant if they want to access cellphone location data.

Utah has also drawn the attention of privacy activists because the NSA’s primary storage center is in located in the state. Protesters rallied in Salt Lake City this weekend against government surveillance of citizens.

At the federal level, Members of Congress are considering 11 legislative measures to reign in the activities of the National Security Agency–representing a major shift of political opinion since Edward Snowden first revealed the NSA’s surveillance programs.

If enacted, the laws would represent the first reduction of the NSA’s powers since 9/11.

But will recent US embassy closures in the Middle East bolster the case for NSA surveillance?  We’ll continue to keep an eye on these trends as concerned citizens and lawmakers weigh in on the debate.

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