United States of America (June 18, 2013)
Restore the Fourth is a grassroots, non-partisan, non-violent movement that seeks to organize and assemble nationwide protests on July 4th, 2013. Protesters in over 100 cities across America will gather to demand that the government of the United States of America adhere to its constitutionally dictated limits and respect the Fourth Amendment. www.RestoretheFourth.net provides a detailed list of protest locations.
Restore the Fourth maintains that justification of the Fourth Amendment beyond the original text need not be given; the legitimacy of which is self-evident. "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." The Fourth Amendment of the Bill of Rights clearly protects all citizens' assets, both digital and physical, against searches and seizures without warrant; they aim to assert those rights. They insist that the proper channels of government work to ensure that all policy complies with the supreme laws of the United States of America in their entirety.
Restore the Fourth requests that American citizens' right to privacy is respected and stands with the Electronic Frontier Foundation and StopWatching.us on their open letter to Congress. As informed members of the American electorate, they endorse and echo the letter's demands.
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.
The July 4th demonstrations seek to demand an end to the unconstitutional surveillance methods employed by the U.S. government and to ensure that all future government surveillance is constitutional, limited, and clearly defined.
Restore the Fourth aims to ensure that the will of the people is reflected in the government of the United States of America. This movement intends to bring an end to twelve years of Fourth Amendment abuses, and demonstrate the need for a return to the Constitution. All Americans should stand with them in this cause to protect the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who is Restore the Fourth?
Restore the Fourth is a non-partisan, unaffiliated group of concerned citizens who seek to strengthen the Fourth Amendment with respect to digital surveillance by the U.S. government.
Did Restore the Fourth originate from the Tea Party, Occupy Wall Street or some other group?
What are you trying to accomplish?
Restore the Fourth aims to end all forms of unconstitutional surveillance of digital communications by the United States government. One specific program Restore the Fourth seeks to discontinue is known as PRISM, which is directed by the National Security Agency.
How are you going to do this?
Restore the Fourth facilitates local rallies around the country planned for July 4, 2013. The purpose of the rallies is to spread awareness of and spur political action against unconstitutional spying by the U.S. government. The movement is completely nonpartisan and nonviolent; the cause is a human-rights issue that transcends political boundaries.
How do you know that the U.S. government has been spying on electronic communications without valid warrants?
According to the Washington Post, Nine major Internet companies allegedly opened their servers to government surveillance: Google, Microsoft, Yahoo!, Facebook, PalTalk, YouTube, Skype, AOL, and Apple. The Electronic Frontier Foundation has a timeline detailing the NSA domestic spying over the past decade. The leaks provided by whistleblower Edward Snowden have provided further evidence for severe overreach by the National Security Agency. His leaks were corroborated by three other NSA whistleblowers, as laid out by The Atlantic.
What happens as a result of unconstitutional government spying on electronic communications?
The NSA has the authority to indiscriminately record the electronic communications of all American citizens. Although it sounds illegal, the legality is not so clear. Various pieces of legislation, including the USA PATRIOT Act and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, allow abuse of ambiguously defined constraints on government power. The laws enable the government to record anyone's communications without a warrant if it does not target specific persons. Then, the NSA requests a warrant from secret, non-adversarial court when it decides someone may have committed a crime. In order to retroactively find evidence against the person, the NSA accesses the stored surveillance data. The defendant may not use the same surveillance data stored by the NSA to argue his or her innocence, since it is classified information.
I haven't done anything wrong; why should I care if the government spies on me?
Privacy is not an admission of guilt. To be secure in their persons is a default privilege of all people. The average person expects privacy in many situations, including but not limited to using the bathroom, writing a diary, or going on a date with a spouse. A reasonable expectation of privacy exists in such situations because the events occurring are personal, intimate, and not the business of any other party, government or otherwise.
Restore the Fourth expects, and asserts that the government acknowledge, privacy with respect to digital communications data. Indeed, the movement to Restore the Fourth is more about principle than the direct impact of spying on the average citizen. It is about maintaining the Fourth Amendment, which America's forefathers carefully wrote for the express purpose of limiting the government's ability to violate the deserved privacy of its law-abiding constituents.
If the surveillance has been stopping terrorists, isn't that worth giving up some privacy?
It hasn't stopped all of them, and there is little to no evidence of any terrorist attacks that have directly been foiled as a result of PRISM. Several domestic terrorist attacks have occurred in the United States since the beginning of PRISM in 2007. There is a diminishing return in security for every bit of privacy lost by the average American.
How can I get involved?
Restore the Fourth welcomes any help that you would like to offer! There are many things that need to be done with varying requirements of time, ability, and experience.
Fight For the Future, another pro-Fourth-Amendment organization, offers a phone number through which local congressmen can be contacted and urged to strengthen the Fourth Amendment: 1-STOP-323-NSA. You can also go to their webpage and email your representatives.
Are you taking donations?
Yes, after much procrastination we have finally decided to start taking donations. Visit our indiegogo campaign to learn more: http://igg.me/at/Rt4/
What is your position on the NDAA and how does it relate to Rt4, if at all?
As a protest movement defending the Fourth Amendment, we oppose sections 1021 and 1022 of the 2012 NDAA as we believe its provisions for "indefinite detainment" of US citizens violates the Fourth Amendment. However, we currently focus on the "search" part of the Fourth Amendment and government surveillance, not seizure of people or property. So the NDAA is not the subject of our protests and other actions. If you would like to take part in an organization focusing on protesting the NDAA, consider PANDA. Note that while we oppose NDAA sections 1021 and 1022, and are affiliated with PANDA on some level (e.g. promotional help and other assistance), Rt4 doesn't necessarily agree with the whole of their published opinions.
United States of America (June 18, 2013)