Rally to protest mass surveillance in D.C. Oct 26th

The heroic revelations made by whistleblower Edward Snowden have let the world know: The NSA is watching you and has undermined the fabric of the Internet. Its overreaching surveillance creates a climate of fear, chills free speech, and violates our basic human rights — your Fourth Amendment right to privacy.

But a movement is building to change all this.

The Libertarian Party was among the first groups to join a growing coalition of organizations operating under the umbrella Stop Watching Us, which aims to stop the National Security Agency’s (NSA) mass surveillance of Americans.

The coalition will hold a rally in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 26, 2013, on the 12th anniversary of the signing of the Patriot Act. Thousands of people from across the political spectrum are expected to unite in Washington, D.C., to demand: Stop watching us, protest mass surveillance!

Speakers at the rally will include 2012 Libertarian presidential candidate Gov. Gary Johnson. A march before the rally, music, and other festivities are planned for the day.

Show your determination to stop government surveillance and come to Washington, D.C., on Oct. 26. For more details about the rally, visit: https://rally.stopwatching.us/

Top secret NSA slide reveals more data collection mechanisms

Americans recently learned about the PRISM program run by the National Security Agency that collects data – knowingly or unknowingly – from some of the largest Internet and telecommunications providers in the United States.  A newly uncovered slide from an NSA document, however, reveals yet another mechanism by which the agency collects data.

The slide, classified “TOP SECRET//SI//ORCON//NOFORN”, details both the PRISM program and so-called “Upstream” capabilities where the agency taps into high-capacity transnational fiber optic lines that run under the ocean.  It instructs the intelligence analyst to use both mechanism when spying on Americans.  The slide also includes circles that may suggest collection points, but details regarding the capabilities and facilities that enable the collection remain unclear.

What is clear, however, is how sophisticated our government’s network of surveillance and data collection mechanisms really are.  No wonder our government just finished construction on a large NSA data processing center near Camp Williams, Utah, designed to collect and store trillions of terabytes of data on the American people.

We don’t have to sacrifice our liberties for security

I wish I could say I was shocked at the reports the NSA is secretly spying on the private phone calls of millions of Verizon customers. However, this is a predictable result of a government that continues to erode our liberties while promising some glimmering hope of security.

The Fourth Amendment is clear; it says we should be secure in our persons, houses, papers and effects, and that all warrants must have probable cause.

I opposed and continue to oppose the Patriot Act because I believe it throws the Fourth Amendment right out the window. It is certainly not patriotic to support warrantless wiretaps, blanket ‘metadata’ collection, and spying on innocent American citizens.

Unfortunately, what is worse than the reports, is knowing that politicians of both parties will continue to defend this practice as necessary to supposedly keep us ‘safe’. We do not have to sacrifice our liberties for security. At times like this, the question must be asked, ‘if we are willing to change our way of life and our very definition of freedom while tolerating the invasive searches at our airports and now of our phone calls, have the terrorists already won?

New bill would establish toughest anti-drone laws in Texas

imagesNew legislation filed in Texas by Republican Representative Lance Gooden proposes the toughest laws against the use of indiscriminate drone surveillance of the American people, restricting  drone use only within 25-miles of the Texas/Mexico border, or with proper search and arrest warrants.

All other uses from individuals, law enforcement or federal authorities would be prohibited in the state.

“These drones are going to get so cheap that soon you’ll be able to buy your own drone at Best Buy,” Gooden said.  “You could park it a foot above the ground in your neighbor’s back yard and film into their house.  If someone wanted to film your children out playing by the pool and put that video on the Internet, as creepy as that sounds.

Gooden said it is important to address the issue now before drone lobbies begin surfacing to push legislation in support of domestic spying.

Texas is not the only state battling the issue of drones.  Seattle’s mayor ordered its police department to stop its plan to use drones after relentless complaints from concerned citizens over privacy.

A similar bill in Florida would ban the use of drones except in cases of “terrorism”, missing children and court-ordered warrants.