1984 Day Rallies Planned For NYC, LA, DC, Boston, San Francisco, And A Dozen Other Cities: Privacy Advocates Rail Against NSA Surveillance

camera Restoring the Fourth, a grassroots group calling for an end to U.S. government surveillance, is organizing pro-privacy rallies in 17 cities.  Reuters/Joshua Lott

It will be a bright day in August, and clocks everywhere will strike 13.

A group of Fourth Amendment advocates are staging rallies in more than a dozen American cities on Sunday, protesting what they say is ongoing, unwarranted surveillance by the U.S. government. The rallies are being staged at various times on Aug. 4, or “1984 Day,” named for George Orwell’s classic dystopian tale of a futuristic surveillance state.

Cities holding 1984 Day rallies include New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Boston, San Diego, Sacramento, Washington, Philadelphia, Savannah, Ga., and others.

The rallies are being organized by Restore the Fourth, a grassroots privacy-rights organization seeking to put an end to “unconstitutional surveillance of digital communications.” The group originally began on Reddit in early June, following revelations of widespread surveillance by the NSA. The following month, the group launched a crowd-funding campaign on Indiegogo, raising $8,450, for what it called “Step 2.”

Interested participants are encouraged to visit the 1984 Day website where they can RSVP via Facebook to attend a rally in their city.

“By rallying this Sunday, we are sending a very loud message to our Representatives that to earn our trust they must restore the Fourth Amendment, and support the passage of legislation to revoke the NSA's authorization to conduct mass surveillance of US and foreign citizens,” the group said on its website.

Meanwhile, the event is getting the attention of notable Internet activists, including “What Would Google Do?” author Jeff Jarvis, who urged Twitter users to retweet the #1984day hashtag on Thursday.

 

 

 

As of Thursday morning, the Facebook events for the respective rallies were growing. San Francisco was the largest, with 187 confirmed attendees. Speakers at that event, which will take place at the Embarcadero waterfront, include the famed Pentagon Papers leaker Daniel Ellsberg, according to the website.

The second largest (as of Thursday morning) rally will take place at New York’s Bryant Park, where 104 people have RSVP’d so far. Coming in third was a rally at Santa Monica’s 3rd Street Promenade, with 89 people confirmed so far.

Rallies at some of the smaller cities only had a few confirmed attendees as of Thursday morning. However, social media chatter about the event was growing by noon, particularly on Reddit, where several 1984 Day-related threads have been posted over the past 12 hours.  

Rallies for 1984 Day are being held in 17 cities on Sunday, Aug. 4. Interested in spreading the word? Visit the website and sign up for a rally in your area. Times vary for each city.

Got a news tip? Send me an email. Follow me on Twitter: @christopherzara

fourth Promotional material for Restore the Fourth's 1984 Day.  Facebook.com/RestoreTheFourth

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