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New strategies for fighting FISA and the PATRIOT Act

The notes from the “birds-of-a-feather” session I led at Computers, Freedom, and Privacy are written up on the CFP Wiki. Alas, we didn’t get the online aspects to work; still, we had a dozen people there in person, including Get FISA Right members Thomas Nephew and Chip Pitts. It was a great discussion. The opportunities we identified include

  • building a broad, diverse coalition
  • focusing on cost, dignity, and human rights issues as well as privacy and the constitution
  • using anti-corporate activism against the companies supplying equipment and profiting from surveillance
  • involving the technical community and domain experts

and a lot more. We also discussed some of the tactical issues about the upcoming PATRIOT Act vote: the need for an accurate vote count; a pressure campaign on key Congresspeople like Jane Harman, Nancy Pelosi, Dianne Feinstein, and Harry Reid; and the importance of powerful visual images.

Check it out!

jon

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Creating the future at #cfp09: showtime for privacy and civil liberties activsm!

CFP logo

“Fight for me!”
– a privacy-loving Facebook friend, wishing me luck at the conference

Here’s our opportunity to realize the promise of the Net that was so present in 1990s when CFP started.
– Deborah Pierce on the CFP blog

The program for this year’s Computers, Freedom, and Privacy conference is outstanding even by CFP’s high standards.  The mix of technology, legal, policy, and activism perspectives is particularly strong this year, and with the new administration and Washington DC location there’s significant involvement by government employees for the first time since the 1990s.  As well as CFP regulars like Jennifer Grannick, Jim Harper, Ed Felten, Nicky Ozer, Alessandro Acquisti, Stewart Baker, and Lillie Coney, speakers incude first-timers like Marcy Wheeler, Dori Maynard, Paul Ekman, Shireen Mitchell, Rebecca Mackinnon, Nancy Scola, and Ari Melber.  Don’t take my word for it — check out the program and prepare to be impressed.

Best of all, with streaming video, the #cfp09 Twitter backchannel ,* live-blogging, and a community wiki, the conference will be more accessible onine than every before.    Kudos to Katy Nelson of the ACLU and Robert Guerra of Freedom House for taking the lead with the video streaming, and to all the volunteers of the online visibility team for all the great work on the blog, Twitter, and Facebook.  The online schedule has details, we’ll do our best to keep the web site updated regularly, and the Twitter feed will be best way to keep up what’s going on.

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w00t, w00t! Get FISA Right finishes #5 in Ideas for Change! Congratulations and great job all!

With a late rush, Get FISA Right, repeal the PATRIOT Act, and restore our civil liberties squeaked into the #5 position in the change.org’s Ideas for Change in America competition with 12285 votes!

Alas, even though our other endorsement Bob Fertik’s Appoint a Special Prosecutor for the Crimes of the Bush Administration picked up over 500 votes this morning, it appears to have fallen heartbreaking short by just 19 votes. Still, overall, wow, what a huge success for Get FISA Right — and civil liberties!

Just think about it: despite virtually no help from the progressive blogosphere or 501(c)3s, we more than held our own against some really tough competition: big mailing lists, political allies.* It’s an incredible validation of the power of our grassroots approach and social network advocacy. Yay us! And it’s yet another clear sign that no matter what they think in Washington and the mainstream media, Americans do see the Constitution and the rule of law as a priority right up there with health care, peace, sustainability, and drug law reform.

So thanks to everybody who was a part of this. Once again, I’d especially like to acknowledge Democrats.com and DreamActivist.org for including us in their last-minute mailings … it made a big difference. Neocons’ worst nightmare, indeed! Thanks also to Jason Rosenbaum of The Seminal for a big endorsement this morning. Within Get FISA Right, it was definitely a team effort, so thanks all around — with extra thanks to Thomas and Patrick who really stepped forward in the last 24 hours.

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Neocons’ worst nightmare: net movements intersecting in Ideas for Change in America

DREAM Activists and undocumented youth, the Stonewall 2.0 LGBTQ movement, Get FISA Right and civil libertarians, peace activists — together again for the first time, along with a demand for accountability for the last 8 years.   Scary stuff.  :-)

Read on for more … and please digg it!

It’s been surprising to me how little attention change.org’s Ideas for Change in America competition has gotten.  David Herbert mentioned it in the National Journal and Nancy Scola on techPresident; of course the competitors have blogging a lot (for example me, at Liminal States, Get FISA Right, and Pam’s House Blend, promoting my idea Get FISA Right, repeal the PATRIOT Act, and restore our civil liberties and the others I’ve endorsed).  But in the broader political, progressive or technology-in-politics blogospheres?  Very little.

Here’s my attempt to describe its importance.

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Get FISA Right: should we endorse the special prosecutor idea?

There’s a voting thread up on the Get FISA Right blog.

Current results: 18 yes, 1 no, 1 present (me, since I voted first, to avoid biasing people).

Please weigh in!

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Get FISA Right on Ideas for Change: only 72 hours left, five ways to help

Voting in change.org’s Ideas for Change in America competition closes Thursday at 2 p.m. Pacific time. Get FISA Right, repeal the PATRIOT Act, and restore our civil liberties has just fallen to #8, and a couple of the ideas close behind us like Pass the DREAM Act – Support Higher Education for All Students have been climbing rapidly.

Now would be a very good time to start increasing our momentum.

So let’s supplement our email and blogosphere outreach with attention to Facebook.  I’m pretty sure at least half the Get FISA Right members have Facebook accounts, and while there are a lot of challenges to doing Facebook activism, it’s a great platform for person-to-person contact.*

As you get a few moments of time over the next few days, here’s how you can help.

  1. vote for the idea if you haven’t already
  2. double-check that your vote has counted:  the blue “vote” button at the top of the change.org page should turn into a brown “voted” button.
  3. email your friends and family
  4. help with the blogger outreach
  5. get involved on Facebook

Thanks much!

jon

PS: our current endorsement list is here, and later today we’re going to start voting on whether or not to endorse Bob Fertik’s special prosecutor idea.  stay tuned!

* It would be great to do more on MySpace and my.barackobama.com as well; ideas and volunteers welcome!

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Vote early, promote often: Ideas for Change and Get FISA Right

The second round of voting in change.org’s Ideas for Change in America competition kicked off today.  Please vote for Get FISA Right, repeal the PATRIOT Act, and restore our civil liberties — and help promote it!

To vote, just click on the Vote here button on the widget on the right.  (If your vote doesn’t register, you may need to log in or sign up first.)

There are a lot of ways you can help promote the idea — see the list on our wiki.  A few ways to get started:

  1. Email the link to your friends and listservs.
  2. Post it to your profile and share it on Facebook or MySpace
  3. If you’re a blogger, write up a post on it and include the code for the widget (available here).  Then sign up as an “endorser” (the link’s on the right-hand side of the change.org page)
  4. As other bloggers to mention our idea and sign up as supporters

We’re having a conference call to discuss promotion on Tuesday, January 6, at 5 PM Pacific/8 PM Eastern.  Please RSVP on Facebook or MyBO if you’re interested!

Stay tuned for more!

jon

PS: and if you’ve got other ideas for promotion, please mention them in the comments

PPS: please also consider voting for Pierre Loiselle’s Repeal the Patriot Act idea.  If we decide to combine the ideas later, you can always change your vote …

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On to the second round of “Ideas for Change in America”!

Also posted on the new Get FISA Right blog

Happy new year!

My idea Get FISA Right, repeal the PATRIOT Act, and restore our civil liberties finished #2 in the Criminal Justice category of change.org/MySpace’s Ideas for Change in America competition, and so has advanced to the second round.

We can revise the idea over the next couple of days (suggestions please!) and then second-round voting runs from January 5 to January 15.  We’ll be promoting it actively, of course.  There’ll be a press conference on January 16 to introduce the top 10, change.org will work with each of them to help build and promote national advocacy campaigns.  With change.org’s 200,000 members, proven ability to attack media attention, and a great list of partners for Ideas for Change in America, it’s a great opportunity …

And some really tough competition.

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Ideas for Change in America: heading into the homestretch

Executive summary

  • things are still in flux in the change.org/MySpace Ideas for Change in America as we head into the last week of the first round
  • civil liberties (six ideas), drug reform (five ideas), and education (five ideas) dominate the top 30
  • my idea, Get FISA Right, repeal the PATRIOT Act, and restore our civil liberties, hanging tough at #5 overall, #2 in Criminal Justice
  • there are a lot of duplicate ideas, for example multiple variants of legalization.  How will change.org deal with this going forward?

The current top 10 is in the first comment for those who don’t care about the analysis.

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“President Obama, please get FISA right” approved by Comcast

Get FISA Right’s cable TV ad for the inauguration has been approved by Comcast — almost two weeks sooner than we had estimated!  So now it’s time for grassroots fundraising to put it on the air – in Washington DC, and potentially all around the country.

The ad addresses President Obama directly, congratulating him on his victory and letting him know that we want to work with him to restore the Constitution and the rule of law.  The ad’s also for a couple of other audiences: our 23,000 members, most of whom we’ve lost touch with; and the media and politicians in Washington DC.  The underlying message is the same: this issue isn’t going away, and neither are we.

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Photos wanted for the Get FISA Right “inauguration ad”

Were you one of the 23,000 Obama supporters who got together on my.barackobama.com last July to protest his stance on FISA?  If so, we’d like to include your photo in a cable TV ad we’re working on with SaysMe.tv that we’ll be broadcasting in Washington DC for the inauguration.  Here’s the script:

Even though we disagreed with your position on FISA last July, we worked for your election victory and are excited to be part of the change you’re bringing to Washington.  We’re ready to help, and look forward to working with you to restore our Constitution and the rule of law.

Congratulations, President Obama.  Please … get FISA right.

If you’d like to have your photo in the ad, please email it to matt { at } saysme { dot } tv by 4 PM (Pacific time) on Thursday, December 18.

Please understand that by submitting your picture you agree to have yourself represented on TV — and please do NOT submit a photo if you don’t want to have it used in the TV ad.

Thanks!

jon

Update:, December 23: we took the rough cut video down from YouTube so I removed it from this post

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Turning the Page on FISA (guest-blogging on change.org)

I’ve got a post Turning the Page on FISA on change.org’s Criminal Justice blog today. Here’s the beginning:

The coming year will present a unique opportunity for a broad-based activism campaign to restore our civil liberties and begin rolling back key pillars of the national surveillance state institutionalized by the Bush Administration and Congress over the last eight years. By first pressuring President Obama to follow through in the first 100 days on his campaign promises to uphold the rule of law and protect Americans’ rights and privacy, and then gearing up for a 50-state strategy to pressure the House and Senate to repeal the PATRIOT Act and reform FISA, we can turn the page on this shameful chapter in our country’s history.

It’s an unusually succinct post for me (500 words!) and describes the overall situation, including the progress the anti-FISA forces made in 2008 and the value of a partnership with change.org and MySpace.  And of course it encourages people to vote for the civil liberties ideas in the Ideas for Change competition:

So please consider voting for Get FISA Right, repeal the PATRIOT Act, and restore our civil liberties and the similar ideas such Donovan Caesar’s End the Patriot Act and Dave Warden’s stop all warrantless wiretapping (in Government Reform) and Pierre Loiselle’s Repeal the Patriot Act in Other.

Check it out! And thanks to Matt Kelley for the invitation!

jon

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