State and local governments often support illegal, warrantless federal spying through the provision of resources such as water and electricity. The OffNow strategy primarily focuses on ending all cooperation between your state and agencies like the NSA. But corporations also step into the gap and support the federal government in violating your rights, providing resources and services not supplied by state and local governments.
The CHOICE Act (Creating Helpful Options for Institutions, Corporations, and Enterprise) addresses these relationships.
Defense contractors, utility companies, tech firms, construction contractors and many others willingly accept taxpayer dollars to do the NSA’s dirty work. While the state cannot forbid a private company from working with the NSA, it can choose the organizations it does business with.
The CHOICE Act throws the ball into a company’s court, forcing it to chose: do business with the NSA and support its rights violating operation, or refuse to provide such support and do business with the state.
Designed to work along with the Fourth Amendment Protection Act, the CHOICE Act prohibits any company voluntarily providing direct support to the NSA, or any other federal agency engaged in illegal spying, from entering into contracts with the state.
During the 2014 legislative session, these provisions were written into the Fourth Amendment Protection Act. Of course, some corporations don’t like it. Many want to play on both sides of the fence. In 2014, some of the most aggressive opposition to the Fourth Amendment Protection Act came from big telecom companies such as AT&T and Cox Communications. They effectively killed the bill in Arizona.
In a strategic move, OffNow decided to separate provisions dealing with corporations out of the Fourth Amendment Protection Act and write them into a stand-alone legislation. This allows lawmakers to pursue a two-step strategy, dealing with government and corporate cooperation with the spy-state separately.
The beauty of the CHOICE Act lies in the fact that it allows corporate leaders to make the ultimate decision. They remain free to cash in on the violation of basic privacy rights if they want. But if they do, the state will simply find more principled companies to do business with. It will also create transparency. The people of the state will learn just which companies disregard their rights and can make their own individual choices as to whether they wish to continue doing business with them.