Rallies against digital government surveillance programs took place this Fourth of July in about 100 cities across the U.S. including Los Angeles. Some 300 protesters gathered this afternoon at Pershing Square in downtown LA.
"Restore the Fourth" organizers are calling for better protection of the Fourth Amendment, which ensures a citizen's right to be secure against unreasonable searches and seizures.
With signs that read “Yes We Scan” and “Stop Spying on Me”, protesters demanded an end to government surveillance.
Xander Snyder is one of the movement’s organizers in LA. He heard about Restore the Fourth on Reddit in the days after the Snowden leak.
"We’re trying to repeal section 215 of the Patriot Act which we believe allowed unconstitutional surveillance," Snyder said. "We also want to hold accountable who allowed this to basically get out of hand," he added.
Snyder carries a copy of the fourth amendment in his pocket, on hand so he can remind everyone that the constitution requires that authorities have cause to conduct a search or seizure. He says its not true the American people don’t care if they are being spied on by their government
"Archiving our data, archiving our emails, our phone calls, our meta-data, which is violating our constitutional rights which is the backbone of this country," Snyder said. "I think that really offends and outrages Americans and Angelenos alike."
Text of the Fourth Amendment:
"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."
Organizers of the rallies demand the following:
1. Enact reform this Congress to Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act, the state secrets privilege, and the FISA Amendments Act to make clear that blanket surveillance of the Internet activity and phone records of any person residing in the U.S. is prohibited by law and that violations can be reviewed in adversarial proceedings before a public court;
2. Create a special committee to investigate, report, and reveal to the public the extent of this domestic spying. This committee should create specific recommendations for legal and regulatory reform to end unconstitutional surveillance;
3. Hold accountable those public officials who are found to be responsible for this unconstitutional surveillance.