Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Fight the power: Group following the ‘litter’ of the law in NSA protests

Okay, so this isn’t really a trucking-centric story, but it’s certainly a story most truckers and other fans of the Fourth Amendment can appreciate.

Here goes:

An organization that advocates for digital privacy rights and opposes surveillance by the National Security Agency is set to adopt the section of highway that runs directly to and from the Utah Data Center.

In exchange for picking up litter at least three times per year, the group Restore the Fourth – Utah, will have its name on signs outside the building, according to a report in The Salt Lake Tribune.

According to the group’s Facebook page, Restore the Fourth is “a non-partisan, non-violent, nationwide advocacy and protest movement demanding an end to the unconstitutional surveillance employed by the U.S. government.”

The Utah Data Center, of course, is the hub of computer platforms, databases and other technology used by the NSA to capture, store and analyze telecommunications networks.

The highway adoption represents a loophole for the group to continue protests against the agency’s data collection methods, protests that were initially stymied when law enforcement reportedly made the group relocate from the road outside the data center because the area was NSA property, according to the Tribune.

One of the group representatives was quoted as saying they plan to carry picket signs while picking up litter. According to the newspaper, the Utah Department of Transportation will erect signage in both directions along the adopted highway, State Road 68, also known as Redwood Road, as well as provide the group with trash bags and orange safety vests.

Restore the Fourth’s goal is to “end all forms of unconstitutional surveillance of digital communications by the U.S. government,” by engaging in non-violent protests around the country, so sayeth their Facebook page. The group hopes the protests and rallies will spread awareness and increase political action.

Hats off to these folks for their efforts to find a way to be of public service not just with their message, but with their cleanup efforts, too.

That’s one way to fight the law and win.