You’re probably well aware of the NSA’s mass surveillance of American civilians. Every form of digital media is fair game: Facebook posts, tweets, e-mails, Skype sessions, Google Hangouts, and anything else you can think of. It’s a Pandora’s Box, opened by Edward Snowden and The Guardian that makes all of us uneasy — especially considering the Utah-based data center that’s presumed to house all of this data. So today marks a bellwether movement for activists who want to put an end to warrantless spying. Enter the Rally Against Mass Surveillance.
Protestors will be marching toward to the Reflecting Pool in Washington, D.C. — meeting there around noon today. You might ask why today. Well, today marks the 12th anniversary of the passage of the Patriot Act, which brought with it an unfortunate side effect of increased Islamophobia across the U.S. Speakers present at today’s rally include Shahid Buttar, Executive Director at the Bill of Rights Defense Committee, activist, and noted MC. Other speakers include former NSA exec Thomas Drake, Lt. Dan Choi, activist Naomi Wolf.
The intent of the rally? Protestors will be handing more than a half-million petitions to Congress, asking them to end the NSA’s snooping on the private digital lives of innocent civilians.
Ahead of today’s rally, the below video urging people to protest was released by the Electronic Frontier Foundation — featuring, among others, Drake, Choi, and Hollywood fixtures like John Cusack, Oliver Stone, and Maggie Gyllenhaal.
Members of the coalition backing the Rally Against Mass Surveillance include tech entrepreneur Anil Dash, journalist Glenn Greenwald — who helped break Snowden’s stories originally, BoingBoing founder Xeni Jardin, and even more celebrities, like Lost‘s Evangeline Lilly and actor Mark Ruffalo. Companies in the coalition include Rackspace and, surprisingly, Ben & Jerry’s.
You can head over to the rally’s website to watch the livestream around 12 p.m. EST. In the meanwhile, a sizable crowd has already begun to form near the Reflecting Pool.
(Photo via tech activist/Open Signal co-founder Sina Khanifar)