Policy: National Security

Left and Right supporting bill to limit federal surveillance on Americans

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Watchdog,National Security,NSA,Surveillance,ACLU

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.

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 today against the agency's surveillance activities.

More than 5,800 websites signed up to add a banner to their front page encouraging visitors to contact their federal lawmakers to support the USA Freedom Act, which would rein in the federal government’s expansive warrantless electronic surveillance apparatus.

The bill is co-sponsored by Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, the Wisconsin Republican who was a co-author of the Patriot Act, and Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt.

The defeat of the 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 in 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.

Josh Peterson is a reporter for Watchdog.org, which is affiliated with the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity.
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