Celebrities tell NSA to stop spying as digital privacy advocates head to D.C.

A screen shot from the Stop Watching Us video shows the "secret room" that NSA controlled at AT&T's Folsom St facility.

Thousands of privacy and civil liberties activists are bound for Washington, D.C. for an Oct. 26 rally calling for surveillance legislation reform, in response to National Security Agency spying programs.

It's being organized by more than 100 groups that have joined together as part of the Stop Watching Us coalition. The group has launched an online petition opposing NSA spying, and plans to deliver about 500,000 signatures to Congress on Sat/26. Many of the key drivers behind Stop Watching Us, from the Electronic Frontier Foundation to Mozilla, are based in San Francisco.

In advance of the rally, Stop Watching Us also released a video featuring celebrities who, like millions of Americans, happen to like corresponding via email and text messages. It features appearances from Phil Donahue, John Cusack, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Congressional Rep. John Conyers, NSA whistleblower Thomas Drake, Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg, and others.

Since Edward Snowden leaked the NSA spying documents earlier this year, the Bay Area has been host to a number of protests organized in response. This past July, some college kids who met on reddit organized a march against NSA spying, called Restore the Fourth (referring to Fourth Amendment privacy rights), and paraded through downtown San Francisco. Meanwhile, the first-ever clues that the NSA was running a domestic spying program were picked up at AT&T’s Folsom Street facility in San Francisco by whistleblower Mark Klein, who exposed the operations in technical documents that subsequently spurred a lawsuit and mainstream news coverage in 2006.

As The Atlantic Wire pointed out not too long ago, the Stop Watching Us coalition is unique in that it straddles ordinary political boundaries:

“It comprises perhaps the most diverse collection of groups in the modern history of American politics. Among the groups and businesses that are signatories to it are: 4Chan, Freedomworks, BoingBoing, CREDO Mobile, Greenpeace USA, Mozilla, reddit, Sunlight Foundation, Taxpayers Protection Alliance, and California's The Utility Reform Network. You can see the thread that ties these organizations together, but it's a thin one.” 

Is the growing digital privacy movement at all worrisome to Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who is chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee and a former San Francisco mayor? So far, she doesn't seem to be showing any signs of backing down. Feinstein defended the spying program in a recent USA Today editorial, writing that she believes the program should continue and even stating that “the call-records program is not surveillance.”


Those of us with nothing to hide welcome this.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 23, 2013 @ 1:26 pm

The vast majority of people oppose these intrusive, unconstitutional surveillance techniques.

Piss off Merkel to your own detriment.

You have nothing to hide, maybe. You have nothing to offer, definitely.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 23, 2013 @ 1:33 pm

And what do you mean by a "vast majority"? 90%? 10%?

Posted by Guest on Oct. 23, 2013 @ 2:55 pm

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Posted by www.asweetenterprise.com on Oct. 23, 2013 @ 11:29 pm

Then why not register to comment using your first and last name?

Posted by rebecca on Oct. 23, 2013 @ 1:47 pm

this is simply a barricade against trolls

it is a signpost to indicate to the reader that other anonymous posters on this thread are beginning to purposely diminish the conversation into repetitive reactionary hyperbole, and/or petty, mean spirited personal attacks and irrelevant bickering

the barrier is put in place to signal that there is probably little point in reading more replies in the thread past this point

proceed at your own risk

Posted by nlkihd on Oct. 23, 2013 @ 1:50 pm

name here, so it is disingenuous of you to suggest that for only one person here.

Like I said, I am fine with this.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 23, 2013 @ 2:12 pm

Which is that there is some information you would prefer to keep private.

Posted by rebecca on Oct. 23, 2013 @ 2:48 pm
Posted by Guest on Oct. 23, 2013 @ 3:12 pm

there's no hope for you. If you are capable, read "Flowers for Algernon." Any solution to your problem will unfortunately be temporary.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 23, 2013 @ 4:35 pm

some left-wing extremists who have no electoral mandate or authority.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 26, 2013 @ 1:40 pm

It's all quite unamerican and tiresome.

The creeping state involvement in people's lives is terrible.

Next thing you know people will have to report to the IRS their insurance status and register by law with private insurance companies.

Posted by Matlock on Oct. 23, 2013 @ 6:24 pm

...maybe the state will require everybody to have car insurance!

Posted by Greg on Oct. 23, 2013 @ 10:04 pm

i just made a dookie

in my underoos...


Posted by racer x on Oct. 24, 2013 @ 12:52 pm

WV and NH are two of them. Cannot recall the other two offhand.

Posted by racer x on Oct. 24, 2013 @ 1:23 pm

That one was so simple and easy to debunk that it was almost not worth the trouble, but anything for my invasive government loving Greg.

I will always go that extra mile for my state power loving pal Greg and his progressive pals.

Posted by Matlock on Oct. 24, 2013 @ 4:51 pm

The state doesn't require you to have a car, but most people need one if they want to work. The state doesn't require you to have a home either, but you have to have insurance if you do. And everybody is required to purchase electricity from a private company here in San Francisco. I suppose you could avoid having to buy any kind of insurance, or being required to purchase anything for that matter, if you don't have a home or a car and live in a cave somewhere, but then the state probably wouldn't come after you for not having health insurance either.

As I've said many times, I prefer socialized medicine to this complex private insurance giveaway, but of all the impositions that both government and corporations, this one is pretty minor. The fact that the right-wingers are having a cow over this is laughable.

Posted by Greg on Oct. 25, 2013 @ 10:28 am

insurance, then they do not get treated. Anywhere, private or public.

That should motivate the cheapskates that try and avoid buying what is now a mandatory requirement.

Also, why aren't we making cuts to the MediCaid budget if everyone now has insurance, or is willing to not be treated?

I do not like ObamaCare, but find myself agreeing with Greg here, that this is far from the worst part of ObamaCare.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 25, 2013 @ 10:38 am

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