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Anti-Spying Rally Targets NSA
IOWA CITY, IA (CBS2/FOX28) -- Armed with megaphones and plenty of petitions, local Restore the Fourth organizers gathered on the Ped Mall on Sunday afternoon to protest phone and internet surveillance tactics by the National Security Agency.
The rally was part of a nationwide series of protests aimed at raising awareness about how much the federal government gathers and monitors people's private information.
"Privacy isn't about having something to hide, privacy is about having control over how information about you is collected, used and stored. And in the information age, that means having control of your own life," said local organizer Alex Turner.
Organizers want the federal government to drastically cut back on how much information the federal government can collect about its citizens. Restore the Fourth is calling for a congressional amendment to the Patriot Act, making any type of governmental phone or internet surveillance illegal.
The group also wants the full scale of surveillance by the NSA made available to the public.
"You have a right to know this and you should let them know that you have this right. You should stand with us in calling for greater transparency and protection for your privacy rights," Turner said.
University of Iowa law professor and former commissioner of the Federal Communications Commission Nicholas Johnson said the way that the NSA can search people's email, social media accounts and more, without notice, violates the Fourth Amendment.
"What they are doing is the electronic equivalent of what the Founding Fathers had a revolution about," Johnson said.
There need to be more protections for whistle blowers like Edward Snowden, Johnson said, so that more people will speak out.
"As we say, 'When the people will lead, their leaders will follow,'" he said.
Restore the Fourth is part of a national coalition with a petition to reveal the full extent of NSA surveillance. Find the petition at stopwatching.us.