NSA PRISM Program: Can the Restore the Fourth Movement Put the NSA Back in Its Place?

We may look to countries such as Turkey, Egypt, and Brazil to see how solidarity within a country is an effective way to push political unrest to the international mainstream. It finally appears that some Americans have chosen to take a cue from these foreign protests as they launch a new movement called “Restore the Fourth,” a nonpartisan effort aimed at targeting the NSA’s surveillance program and in turn strengthening the Fourth Amendment. Demonstrations have been organized in major cities in just about all 50 states. These demonstrations will be taking place on the July 4, a very fitting date given that it is America's Independence day.

Though not all the cities holding rallies have posted their respective plans for the protest, Boston’s organizer did, offering us some insight into what will be happening there. 

“We will be starting at the Old State House at 9:30 and reading the Declaration of Independence at 10:00 a.m. The event will last all day, and we will be moving around the city as the rally progresses,” the online itinerary read.

Looking back at demonstrations like the Occupy Wall Street movement and its general ineffectiveness could make someone look at the “Restore the Fourth” movement with skepticism. However, unlike the Occupy movement, “Restore the Fourth” has clearly outlined its goal: “to end all forms of unconstitutional surveillance of digital communications by the United States government,” and more specifically, to discontinue PRISM. 

Considering that organizers of “Restore the Fourth” and its participants will be entering the demonstration with a demand and intention, the movement is not aimless and should therefore not be dismissed as another futile protest.

However, given that this protest is only scheduled for one day (as far as we can tell) and the U.S. government as a whole was adamant in defending PRISM, it is undoubtedly going to take more than one day’s worth of collectively expressed dissatisfaction to convince more politicians to take action.

Just as the NSA program is aggressive in its violations, protesters and others who wish to express their disapproval of the program and have it removed or changed will have to be twice as pushy to achieve their aims. This goal, though difficult to achieve, is worth the fight and must be reached for the sake of maintaining privacy in America. 

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