Snowden Did His Part to Protect Our Privacy: Now, it’s Our Turn

Written by Josh Levy

It’s been four months since Edward Snowden exposed the NSA’s spying regime. Since then, we’ve discovered that the agency tracks our phone calls, our emails, our browsing history and our contacts. It also tracks our contacts’ contacts, and their contacts.

We’ve also learned that the NSA has compromised the technical standards that are supposed to keep us secure online — including working with corporate partners to create “back doors” into their customers’ accounts, compromising encryption codes. It’s also targeting the TOR network, a global system that helps millions of activists, journalists and other people around the world work anonymously and evade repressive regimes.


Meanwhile, journalist Glenn Greenwald, who broke the news via his reporting in the Guardianpromises there are more revelations to come.

For thousands of civil liberties activists in the United States, this news confirmed what they already knew: The NSA’s unconstitutional surveillance programs target millions of innocent people. But many Americans are confronting our government’s betrayal of the Fourth Amendment for the first time.

People are outraged. A recent poll showed that “a majority of Americans oppose mass surveillance of people’s Internet usage for future investigations.”

In the aftermath of these revelations, more than 570,000 people signed the StopWatching.Us petition. They’re demanding that Congress probe the NSA’s spying programs and reform the laws — the Patriot Act and the FISA Amendments Act — that got us here. On July 4, thousands gathered in New York City, San Francisco, Washington, D.C., and elsewhere to push Congress to protect our constitutional rights to privacy.

In this era of intense political polarization, members on both sides of the aisle in Congress oppose the NSA spying. In July, an amendment that would have defunded the NSA’s phone-metadata gathering came within seven votes of passing.

Now the bipartisan coalition of organizations behind StopWatching.Us — including the ACLU, Access, Demand Progress, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Fight for the Future, Free Press, the Libertarian Party and many others — is taking this fight to the streets: We’re gathering in Washington, D.C., on October 26 to stage the nation’s biggest protest yet against mass surveillance.

On that day, thousands of people will march to Capitol Hill and advocate for our rights to connect and communicate in private. We’ll talk about how our privacy rights are essential to other movements to protect our civil rights and fight for social justice. We’ll explain how mass surveillance can destroy the lives of individuals and communities. And we’ll demonstrate that this issue is perhaps the only thing bringing together a Washington so divided that our government shut down for the first time in 17 years.

Reining in overreach by the NSA, the most secretive and opaque federal agency around, may prove tough. But one thing is clear: The road to recovering our privacy rights runs straight through Congress. It’s time our elected officials heard from us.

This post was originally published in Other Words

Photo credit: Thinkstock


Milan Lorman
Milan Lorman3 years ago

Well said, Mark P, ! I wish I could send you a Constellation, not just a Star. Keep hammering, Buddy !

william Miller
william Miller3 years ago

scary isn't it. What a strong man.

Marc P.
Marc P3 years ago

To those of you who think Snowden and other whistle blowers are traitors: Let me tell you who the REAL traitors are..... YOU are the traitors! You have turned your back on the Constitution and the values and ethics that this country has embraced for over 200 years. You refuse to defend the Constitution even in word! How cowardly. How utterly, pathetically craven of you all! Shame on you! The ONLY people in the entire world that are not horrified, appalled, disgusted, and alarmed by our Surveillance State are the sheep living in this country. How is it that the United States - In the bastion of Freedom and ethics of the world, there is NO outrage for the crimes being committed by this government on its citizens and the world??? And instead people support and protect the CRIMINALS who are enacting and running these programs!?! How cowardly and lacking in ethics are you people? You sicken me to the core of my being!

Erik Roth
Ernest R3 years ago

@ Lori H. --You forgot to call it espionage. What more appropriate charge for his revelation of his country's espionage ? It works for Republicans.

Erik Roth
Ernest R3 years ago

@ Lori H."Snowden is a traitor to his country, putting many American lives at risk abroad." You are confusing Snowden's revelations with the illegal, criminal Viet Nam war or perhaps the equally illegal Iraq war? He had nothing to do with it.

Kathleen R.
Kathleen R3 years ago


Anteater Ants
Anteater Ants3 years ago

He is a whistleblower. His only crime was telling the truth.

Milan Lorman
Milan Lorman3 years ago

@Thomas M. - "If Snowden would have found nothing in his electronic theft of documents, would he still be a "hero?"

Your rhetorical Question must deserve a nomination for the title of the DUMBEST QUOTE of the decade (at least). It's akin to asking: "If Neal Armstrong hadn't left his footprints (boot prints really) on the Moon, would he still be a "hero"?

He would not be a hero (without the inverted commas) even if he HAD found all that embarrassing stuff but then decided to keep it under his hat. Like his other co-workers did. He has decided to tell us, his fellow Citizens, the Truth, because the Truth helps to keep us Free.

Now it is up to Us, The People, to tell our employees, the Government, to take their dirty hands off him.

Milan Lorman
Milan Lorman3 years ago

@Lori H.- "Snowden is a traitor to his country, putting many American lives at risk abroad."

Good, Lori! Now can you name some other naughty men who are deliberately sending good American Boys and Girls abroad and bringing them back in "body bags" ?

Milan Lorman
Milan Lorman3 years ago

@Jane R. - "Get used to losing more and more freedoms. ..."
You remind me of a sad story: There was this Man who has decided to cut Overheads and teach his donkey to go without food. Each day he gave the beast less and less hay. It worked for a certain time but just as success seemed within reach, the poor thing died. End of story.