The 4th Amendment Protection Act is a sleek, simplified piece of legislation designed to create impediments that make it so difficult for the federal surveillance-state to operate, it will have no choice but to stop violating your rights.
In the 14 months since Edward Snowden’s NSA revelations hit the public eye, awareness of the dangers of invasive, ubiquitous government spying has reached an all-time high. The time is now to push back and resist the systematic invasion of our privacy by the federal government. That is why we have developed a reform measure that can be easily enacted in your community, far away from the Washington D.C. establishment that has grown tone-deaf to the concerns of the American people.
Utilizing the Rosa Parks’ method of simply saying, “No!” and working within the framework of Supreme Court rulings, we have developed model legislation known as the 4th Amendment Protection Act.
HOW DOES IT WORK
Rather than doing the bidding of the federal government, states can choose not to participate. This is legally valid under the well-established anti-commandeering doctrine. Upheld on at least four separate occasions over hundreds of years by the Supreme Court, this doctrine holds that the federal government cannot force the states to enforce, support or implement federal programs and laws. Simply put: your state does not have to cooperate with the federal government in violating you rights.
The legislation addresses state cooperation with agencies conducting illegal spying in three major ways.
First, it prohibits state and local agencies from providing any material support to the NSA within their jurisdiction. That includes cutting off water, electricity and other state supplied resources.
The federal government depends on state and local support to operate its spy-agencies. In fact, the NSA signed a sweetheart deal for water at its facility in Bluffdale, Utah. These agreements with state and local governments enable it to attack our privacy at a discounted rate. Because state and local municipalities often control the access to water and other important resources, these deals can ultimately be ended through state legislation.
While nine states host official NSA facilities (that we know of), this legislation is intended for introduction in all 50 states. Success will only come with passage in multiple states – both those with and without facilities. The public generally remains unaware of the NSA’s intention to build and support a facility until after the contracts are signed, and this often happens in secret. States need to take proactive steps to prevent further NSA expansion.
Second, it addresses a practical effect of data sharing. State and local agencies swap data back and forth with the feds. Through predatory information sharing agreements, data is filtered up to the feds from local and state government agencies through fusion centers. The NSA also passes on unlawfully-gathered information to local and state governments to be used in prosecutions. The 4th Amendment Protection Act makes illegally obtained data inadmissible in court and ends state data sharing.
Finally, the legislation also addresses partnerships between the NSA and state colleges and universities. The NSA currently partners with 171 universities around the country. These schools conduct government funded research, helping the NSA expand its capabilities. They also serve as recruiting grounds for future spies. State universities would be banned from these cooperative agreements with the NSA under the Fourth Amendment Protection Act.
Simply put, the 4th Amendment Protection Act makes it possible for activists to use the immense size and scope of the NSA’s operation against it. It cannot destroy our privacy rights on its own, and understanding that fact can help us to level the playing field.
The inspiration from our legislation comes from the heroic example of Rosa Parks. Her refusal to comply with the racist, segregationist orders to move from her seat to the back of the bus sparked a revolution of independent thought. Her courageous civil disobedience galvanized others to stand up against the seemingly overwhelming power of the status quo. However, once the trail was blazed by her actions, it became far easier for others to stand up against government injustice and oppression.
We take Rosa Parks’ example to the state legislature. Because the oppression in this instance is being perpetrated predominantly at the federal level, this makes the states the perfect vehicle to remedy this injustice.
It’s time to take power back, once and for all. That begins with the 4th Amendment Protection Act. Lobby your state legislators to introduce it now.