Privacy Advocates: “Stop Watching Us”
WASHINGTON – Revelations by leakers Julian Assange and Edward Snowden have shown U.S. government agencies such as the NSA may have violated Americans' right to privacy, according to advocates who are going to march and rally in Washington this weekend to protest.
Adwoa Masozi of the Bill of Rights Defense Committee (BRDC) points out that as far back as the 1920s, the government was spying on the black nationalist movement of Marcus Garvey.
"This is nothing new, Masoz maintains. “This is just something that's affecting everyone, as opposed to certain sects of the political spectrum and different cultural groups, ethnic groups in this country."
The action this weekend, timed to the 12th anniversary of signing the Patriot Act, will be preceded Thursday night by a panel discussion organized by the Center for Media Justice and Free Press, called, Enemies of the State: Government Surveillance in Communities of Color.
Seema Sadanandan of the American Civil Liberties Union predicts a large turnout for the march. She says concern over privacy is reaching a turning point.
"What makes Edward Snowden and Julian Assange and their revelations so powerful is that they have propelled our society to engage in a conversation about what privacy means in this context, and in today's age of technology," she explains.
Supporters of the Patriot Act say it has allowed investigators to foil terrorist plots.
Masozi isn't buying that.
"There's no evidence to suggest that any of us has been made any safer,” she says, “that it is necessary to sacrifice our liberty for security – none of that."
The march steps off at noon Saturday from Union Station to the Capitol reflecting pool.
It's sponsored by dozens of groups that say they are concerned about civil liberties being pushed aside in the drive to defend the country from domestic and international terrorists.