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215 Reasons Why Section 215 Needs to Go Away

That $50 donation you made to protect naked mole rats? The NSA might know about that.
That $50 donation you made to protect naked mole rats? The NSA might know about that.
The ACLU Action Team,
The ACLU Action Team
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May 12, 2015

The pressure is on in Congress, where Section 215 of the Patriot Act is up for expiration come June 1. Our fight to rein in the surveillance state got a historic boost last week, when a federal appeals court ruled the NSA’s mass call-tracking program, the first program to be revealed by Edward Snowden, is illegal.

Yet some members of Congress, like Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, want to reauthorize Section 215, extending it for five more years. The other legislation on the table, the USA Freedom Act, doesn’t go nearly far enough in keeping the personal information of innocent people out of government hands.

Frankly, we’ve had enough. Which is why we present to you…

215 Reasons Why Section 215 Needs to Go Away: A Fictionalized Soap-Operatic Dramatization of One Person’s Life Lived Under Section 215

  1. The NSA can collect and store all data about every phone call you make.
  2. For instance, remember how last month you drunk-dialed your ex 4 times in the middle of the night? Yeah, the NSA knows about that.
  3. They know she didn’t call you back.
  4. Remember how the next day you called your therapist five times? They know that, too.
  5. They know your therapist did call you back! Phew!
  6. And that you talked for 2 hours.
  7. They also know that after you talked to your therapist you called your ex 3 more times.
  8. And that she didn’t pick up, not even once.

Drunk dialing your ex? The NSA knows about that.

Isn’t it time to let unconstitutional and unwarranted government surveillance die?

  1. Turns out that while your ex wasn’t picking up your calls, she was on the phone with your best friend. Yup, the NSA knows that.
  2. Your best buddy and your ex have always been close. In fact, the NSA knows they’ve talked at least once every day since you guys broke up.
  3. Actually, the NSA knows they were calling each other pretty regularly before you broke up, too.
  4. Doesn’t it seem unfair that the NSA knows your best buddy and your ex are talking on the phone constantly but you don’t?
  5. Because at the end of each day, major phone companies hand over to the NSA records of who called whom, when, and for how long.
  6. Did you know that the NSA could also use Section 215 to track your financial records without getting a warrant?
  7. That night you drunk-dialed your ex? The NSA can use some fancy data correlation techniques to figure out that after you bought a whole lot of drinks at the bar, you went and got a tank of gas.
  8. And that you got an egg and cheese sandwich at the deli the next morning.
  9. And that Bloody Mary you got at the White Horse Tavern at 10am with your credit card. Hair of the dog? No one wants the NSA to know about their morning cocktail.

Don’t think the NSA should have access to your financial records without a warrant? Tell Congress.

  1. Having a rough weekend, aren’t you, buddy? The NSA knows all about it. You might want to consider using cash and a burner phone.
  2. Ah, Monday. Time for you and the NSA to settle in to a slow day at the office, and some web searches about your ex. Can you believe she posted those photos online?
  3. The NSA might know that when you chatted with your best buddy about those photos, he was also chatting with your ex. That’s not cool.
  4. Under Section 215, the NSA may also be collecting hotel records.
  5. About those hotel records. Your best buddy and your ex? Yeah… Sometimes the NSA knows things you don’t ever wanna know.
  6. As adorably archaic as it may sound, the NSA can also collect library records.
  7. So, for example, when your ex took out “The Dance of Anger: A Woman’s Guide to Changing the Patterns of Intimate Relationships”? Mmmhmmm.
  8. And how she also took out “How to Cheat on Your Boyfriend with His Best Friend And Get Away with It”? We’re kidding. That book doesn’t exist. But if it did and she took it out, the NSA might know.
  9. If only the NSA also offered relationship counseling services. They know more about you than your therapist does!
  10. What else could the NSA collect under Section 215? Prescription records, for one.
  11. Do you think the NSA has put together the Viagra prescription you never got filled with your ex’s frequent phone calls to your best buddy?
  12. We’re not saying those two things are linked, but you never know what connections the NSA is making. They do have those high-powered data crunching algorithms, after all.

That pro-marijuana group you joined in college? The NSA might know about that.

Don’t let this invasion of privacy get five more years to live! Section 215 should expire today.

  1. This Monday sure won’t end. Good thing you called your therapist and scheduled an emergency midday session. And good thing the NSA is keeping logs of all those calls. Just in case!
  2. Except you told your boss you have an off-site meeting. Let’s hope your boss and the NSA never compare notes. Because under Section 215 or related Patriot Act provisions, the NSA may also be collecting your cell phone location information.
  3. So, for example, when you stop at the drug store after your “off-site meeting” to fill your therapist’s prescription for sleeping pills?
  4. Lots of juicy data for the NSA! Maybe next time don’t drive 80 mph down the highway, mkay?
  5. And, of course, there are the details about the actual prescription.
  6. Do you really want the NSA to know that you just got the last batch a week ago and already need a refill?
  7. Are they really getting all of this this without a warrant?
  8. Without having to prove that you’ve done anything wrong?
  9. Why on earth does the NSA get to know all your embarrassing secrets?
  10. Even all that stuff you’re hiding from your ex, your best buddy, your therapist?

Does Section 215 sound grim yet? Sign to protect your privacy.

  1. Your pal Jack always manages to cheer you up. Give him a call. After all, if we don’t call our nearest and dearest to say hi, the crack phone surveillance team at the National Security Agency might get bored.
  2. Did you know that Jack has recently made some rather unsavory acquaintances?
  3. Don’t worry – the NSA does.
  4. There’s this awesome thing called “two hop” collection under Section 215. It allows the NSA to link you to Jack’s new “friends” for years to come.
  5. Did we mention how unsavory they are? They’re not exactly the folks you’d invite over for a barbeque, that’s for sure. But that sure did pique the NSA’s interest!
  6. Let’s do some fun NSA “two hop” math: if you have 100 contacts, and those folks have 100 contacts, that’s 10,000 people.
  7. If one of those 10,000 has come under suspicion, time to flag you and your data for a super special database!
  8. Sure hope none of those 10,000 people have ever done something unsavory. Uh, thanks Jack.

Your ex spending all her time on the phone with your best friend? The NSA knows about that.

Section 215 needs to go away. Seriously.

  1. Even after talking to Jack, you’re still feeling a little blue. Maybe a quick heart-to-heart with your Rabbi will help?
  2. Guess what? The NSA also collects information about communications between faith leaders and congregants!
  3. You give Rabbi Val a call. Data point collected and stored.
  4. The fact that you were on the phone with her for 35 minutes? Yes, they know that.
  5. Oh, and get this! The NSA could also request a list of anyone else who worships at your synagogue.
  6. Or your co-worker Ahmed’s mosque – they could be tracking everyone who worships there, just because.
  7. In fact, the NSA could request a list of people who belong to any organization, like, say, an environmental group.
  8. That $50 donation you made to protect naked mole rats? Under Section 215, an organization’s records, papers, and documents could be collected.
  9. What would the NSA do with lists of environmentalists, anyway? Sorry buddy, there’s no way to find out what they’re doing with it.
  10. Doesn’t that seem a little Orwellian? Even naked mole rats might agree. A federal judge did. But that didn’t stop the NSA.
  11. Come to think about it, what about that group you dabbled with in college, the pro-marijuana-legalization activists? (Everyone has a wild phase in college, right?) Mmmmm more data!
  12. Under Section 215, that membership list could be collected, too. Wild phase notwithstanding.

Don’t think your wild phase in college should be fair game for NSA databases? If thousands of us join together and shout it from the rooftops (or every major newspaper in America) maybe Congress will finally get the message.

  1. Don’t think records of your wild phase in college should be collected in the name of national security?
  2. Unfortunately the NSA’s massive databases often don’t make the distinction between youthful exploration, mundane communications, and criminal behavior.
  3. Another slow day at work means more hours to kill. Just watch out for those search terms – the NSA might try to peek into your search history.
  4. It might also think it can get records of which web pages you visited.
  5. Too bad it’s not just your IT department that might be able to see that you spent an entire hour looking at photos of interspecies animal friendships.
  6. And another hour looking at your cute co-worker’s Facebook page.
  7. But it’s a good thing you’re scheduling some plans for the week – things have been rough and you should stay busy. And keep the NSA busy, right?
  8. Good thing you marked ‘Going’ on that Facebook event post for Sunday’s Black Lives Matter protest. I’m sure the NSA would like to know about that.
  9. We’re especially glad you RSVP’d online for that demonstration for reproductive rights. Is the NSA glad, too? Sure, why not!
  10. Oh, and speaking of… That call your ex made that one time to the abortion clinic? You guessed it: logged by the NSA.
  11. The NSA’s dragnet applies to First Amendment-protected activities, too.
  12. All this without a probable cause warrant! Ain’t life grand (if you’re the NSA).

Called an abortion clinic? The NSA knows about that.

Why is your private life the government’s business? NSA stop snooping!

  1. Hey it’s your grandpa’s 85th birthday. Happy birthday! The NSA is glad you’re calling him.
  2. Though his call to his doctor about his gout right after you spoke? That we’d rather not have the NSA know about. His health is none of the government’s business.
  3. Your grandfather – not exactly a fan of big government – is pretty upset about it too. He’s threatening to stop calling his doctor and now your mom is freaking out too.
  4. (Maybe his rants all these years about Big Brother watching him weren’t so far off, after all.)
  5. Your mom keeps calling about your grandpa, which is really cutting into your workplace web surfing. Those calls are – you guessed it – logged!
  6. Again, good thing HR and the NSA don’t trade notes… yet.
  7. Wow, she really wants you to go visit him in Florida. You better start searching for flights online.
  8. Did you know that the government could be using information collected through Section 215 to put people on various watchlists, including the No Fly List?
  9. Too bad we don’t even know the criteria for ending up on the watchlist. Yet another example of the government’s shady, unconstitutional practices in the name of national security.
  10. Anyway, you probably won’t end up on the No Fly List, but if you do, you won’t know till you buy a ticket and try to board the flight to visit grandpa. Good luck with that.

Think that the NSA should require a probable cause warrant to use your records against you? You’re not alone.

  1. Speaking of web surfing and grandpa’s ailments, you type some search terms to figure out what the heck that weird rash on your leg is from. Under Section 215, that search history might even be collected. Gross.
  2. (Come to think of it, what other phrases have you searched online lately…?)
  3. (I mean, there was that one time, when you searched for something innocent but ended up on that VERY non-innocent site. Total accident. The NSA will understand that, right?)
  4. You also take a few pictures of your rashy leg to send to your pal who’s a nurse. You name them “sexy_legs.jpg” – hmmmm, that file name, too, could be made available to the NSA.
  5. Which reminds you of that semester in college when you sent some slightly risqué photos to your girlfriend at the time. Filenames “treasure_trail.jpg” and “TheCaptain.jpg”?
  6. Might want to think about leaving the suggestive shots called “IMG_011938456.jpg” for next time, eh? You don’t want to attract unwanted attention.

Been talking to your rabbi on the phone? The NSA knows about that.

Heard enough? Sign to tell Congress to stop this unwarranted violation of your privacy – let 215 die!

  1. Remember back to 2001? That’s when Congress quickly shuffled the Patriot Act including Section 215 into law. Most legislators didn’t even read it before voting for it.
  2. It was just weeks after the 9/11 attacks and legislators were under immense political pressure to vote for the bill – even if they didn’t really understand it.
  3. The bill was hundreds of pages long after all and super complicated. Politicians should be expected to read and understand something before signing, right?
  4. I mean Congress is so busy. There’s lots to do in the 100 days a year our representatives work.
  5. And it was a really stressful and scary time, remember? They had to show they were doing something post 9/11, doing anything. So no time for followup questions – just to vote for something, anything. Especially a law called the ‘Patriot Act’.
  6. But the Patriot Act opened the floodgates for the worst abuses of government spying powers our country has ever seen.
  7. The NSA uses Section 215 to scoop up ALL of your call records, every single day, to get front-row access to your most intimate details.
  8. And ours. Let me tell you, we’re not so happy about this. Are you?

Whaddya think? Should the NSA get another five more years of unlimited spying powers?

  1. Even the author of the Patriot Act, Representative Jim Sensenbrenner, agrees the NSA is misusing the Patriot Act by collecting your call data.
  2. He said “Americans are increasingly wary that Washington is violating the privacy rights guaranteed to us by the Fourth Amendment.” Damn skippy, I think he’s onto something there.
  3. The pressure was so high that only one senator voted against the Patriot Act when it was proposed.
  4. That was Russ Feingold. And guess what he was most worried about? The unconstitutional use of Section 215. (Hmmm, maybe he actually read the whole thing).
  5. Well, his warnings were not heard. And now the NSA uses Section 215’s power to collect vast amounts of your information without a warrant. Yes, you heard me right, no warrant required.
  6. Maybe Congress should have read this before making it law? Especially when it affects all our lives, and messes with our privacy?
  7. They did do one thing right though – they built in an expiration for key provisions of the Patriot Act!

Say NO to government spying. C’mon Congress, let Section 215 die already.

  1. So who else thinks NSA spying under 215 is bad? Well, a federal judge called it Orwellian and likely unconstitutional.
  2. Orwellian! Like the totalitarian anti-utopian regime that George Orwell described in his novel 1984. Basically, a total nightmare.
  3. Guess who else? The White House! President Obama’s review group found NSA mass surveillance under Section 215 ineffective in stopping terrorism.
  4. The Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board came to the same conclusion. They analyzed classified files and found zero evidence that the NSA phone-records program ever played a pivotal role in any investigation.
  5. And last week, if you haven’t heard yet, a federal appeals court ruled it illegal!
  6. Sounds like every branch of government thinks it’s a bad idea. Well, almost every branch. Some members of Congress are trying to extend it for another 5 years.
  7. Ever made a bad decision and wished you could reverse it?

RSVP'd on Facebook to a #BlackLivesMatter protest? The NSA could know about that.

Section 215 was always a bad idea. Now’s the chance to fix it.

  1. Maybe it’s time to call it a day and head to the bar. Since you’re never far from your cellphone, the NSA could come along for the ride.
  2. Or maybe they’re collecting the E-ZPass information that registered when you crossed the bridge.
  3. Mmmm, you sure you want to pay with a credit card? That third G&T could raise some NSA eyebrows after last weekend’s bender.
  4. Glad you’re making new friends in your time of need. That guy you met at the bar who you called so he’d have your number? Logged!
  5. You paid with cash? Good move. Oh but it was cash withdrawn from the bar’s ATM? Yeah they could get a record of that too.
  6. Speaking of, it seems pretty clear from your bank info that you’re not gonna be making your mortgage payment on time this month. Hopefully no one at the NSA will be telling your bank where you’re spending your money.
  7. You sure you wanna be getting in your car in your state?
  8. Be careful, friend. How about you keep your eyes on the road rather than on the numbers you’re dialing? Yes, those calls are logged, too. Every single one.
  9. Ugh, another rough night. Good call on the Ibuprofen you picked up at the corner store. The NSA no doubt agrees.
  10. At least you’re too tired to log onto some of those websites you’d rather keep private.
  11. (You know the websites we mean.)
  12. And to call your ex. Again.
  13. These days, it can be safer to avoid communication altogether.
  14. What about that “reform” bill you’ve been reading about, that the Senate is considering? The aptly named USA Freedom Act. (Freedom and Patriot, who is naming these bills?)
  15. Could salvation from an all-seeing surveillance apparatus be around the corner?
  16. Sorry buddy. That bill wouldn’t stop the NSA from being able to collect huge amounts of information about you. Or us.

Tell Congress: Section 215 should expire today.

  1. This week is dragging on and you can’t stop thinking about how your ex is now with your (ex) best friend. Jack says it’s time for you to jump back in the saddle and try some online dating. But how awkward would it be if the NSA demanded records about your Tinder swipes? After all, many private companies do share data with the NSA.
  2. Browsing ‘Missed Connections’ on Craigslist, you see a super cute posting and call Cindy to see if she wants to check out the new Mexican spot near your apartment. Thanks to its bulk collection of call records, the NSA rarely misses a connection.
  3. That date was a total disaster. You’d rather forget it, but the NSA might not forget that you paid $100 for that disaster.
  4. And your mom called mid-date. Yeah, the NSA knows about that too, though your date didn’t. Not sure she believed that it was your “stock broker.”
  5. The NSA knows it wasn’t your “stock broker” – because they know you don’t own stocks! Under Section 215, they can track your financial records without getting a warrant.
  6. Does it matter that you’ve done nothing wrong, and there’s no probable cause? Nope, the NSA can still get lots of juicy details about your private life by tracking your communications.
  7. Let’s just hope they don’t see another credit card charge for the White Horse Tavern on your way home. (How many times this week does that make?)
  8. And be careful about what websites you hit after a night like tonight. Paying by credit card to download that risqué new movie? That could be tracked.

Texted a picture titled sex_legs.jpg? The NSA knows about that.

Why would we agree to give this law five more years? Tell Congress it’s time for Section 215 of the Patriot Act to go away.

  1. Can’t sleep and the pills aren’t helping? Too late to call the therapist? It’s a dark place to be in, made worse if the NSA knows about your call to a suicide hotline.
  2. They know you talked for 20 minutes. (And we’re glad you got the support and guidance you needed to be able to finally drift off.)
  3. Hit snooze too many times on the alarm clock? The NSA knows you called your boss; unclear if your boss actually believed you were late because of train delays.
  4. Can they really get all of this information without proving that you’re connected to a crime and without getting a warrant? Really?!
  5. The NSA really doesn’t have to prove you’ve done anything wrong to track all your phone records?
  6. Why do they need to know about all of your intimate conversations? Your secrets are none of their business!
  7. This isn’t science fiction – as made clear by Snowden’s revelations two years ago, big brother really IS watching.
  8. Ohhhhhhhh – Grandpa was right all along!
  9. I mean, it’s starting to seem like all of the normal activities you do online or on your phone every day could be spied on by the NSA, even though you haven’t actually done anything wrong!
  10. (And those activities might not paint a very flattering picture at the moment. But you’re not a bad person! Really!)

Government mass surveillance assumes everyone is guilty. Tell Congress this can’t continue.

  1. The weight of it all is really starting to get to you. I mean, you’re not a conspiracy nut. But they might know EVERYTHING about you! Prescription medication history! Ex-girlfriend’s abortion clinic call! Financial transactions! Phone calls to your mom!
  2. It’s enough to make you want to go totally off-grid, man. Throw away your cell phone. Get rid of your GPS. Avoid using email. Letters!! You’ll only send letters! Yes!!!
  3. And that Great American Novel you were writing on your laptop – that one about that guy who leaves it all behind and sets out on a road trip with his parrot in a quest for higher consciousness – it’s starting to feel like nothing digital is safe from surveillance these days. Maybe you’ll take your literary aspirations to paper, too.
  4. You don’t want anyone to get a record of the fact that you have been writing a novel about your journey into “higher consciousness.”
  5. They might think that reflects poorly on your mental state. Then again, so would finding out that you are spending hours alone scribbling into a tattered notebook.
  6. Who are you kidding. You can’t remember the last time you picked up a pen and your handwriting is atrocious. Guess you’ll have to take a break from your literary aspirations.
  7. It’s a shame that fear of NSA spying is killing your art, but better safe than sorry, right?
  8. By now your whole family is worried you’re having a nervous breakdown. Grandpa called Mom, and Mom called everyone else, and now they’re calling you during work nonstop, and the NSA knows about all of the calls.
  9. Aunt Sue from Wisconsin called to ask about your breakup (she had high hopes for you two!), which was decidedly unhelpful to your delicate mental state.
  10. The NSA knows that you were on the phone with her for over an hour in the afternoon while at work. They don’t know you put the phone on mute and popped a roll of bubble wrap while she droned on. (Thankfully Aunt Sue doesn’t know that either).

Took $100 from the ATM? The NSA could know about that.

Want to protect your privacy – and Aunt Sue’s too? Don’t let Congress extend its mass surveillance programs through the Patriot Act.

  1. Now that you’re avoiding calls from your entire extended family, maybe your therapist can prescribe you something to help you cope with your acute anxiety?
  2. Of course the NSA could track your call to your therapist, and your prescription for anxiety pills. But you already knew that.
  3. When it comes to self-help, they can also track your reading habits: including that online search for “massage therapy for stress” (which takes you to some very not-safe-for-work websites. Although they do look pretty relaxing…)
  4. Even offline, it continues: including your visit to the library to check out “The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are.” The NSA can get your library records? Yep, you know the drill.
  5. I mean, the NSA should write a book about anxiety since they contribute so much to our collective stress level by spying on our private communications. That would be a best seller! If a somewhat depressing one.
  6. C’mon NSA. Maybe you should just let it [Section 215 of the Patriot Act] go. Let it go….
  7. (Your niece loves that “Let it Go” song from Frozen – sometimes she calls you to sing it to you. Yep, the NSA knows about those calls).
  8. Here you are, in this dark troubled place, bruised from your breakup, trying to get help and support from wherever you can – and the NSA is tracking your every distraught move.
  9. Abuse of power is abuse of power, and you probably wouldn’t want them spying even if you were having the best day ever. Which you most certainly are not.
  10. How do they even justify this massive intrusion into your life? Apparently it’s for national security, though a presidential review board found there was no evidence at all that the NSA’s massive surveillance program has ever made a substantial impact in any terrorist investigation.
  11. So why all the spying, NSA? Whom, exactly, is this really helping?
  12. (You stop to do a web search for “who vs. whom” – the NSA appreciates your desire for grammatical exactitude.)
  13. So if the NSA isn’t getting any useful information, merely collecting untold terabytes of data on innocent Americans and their intimate activities, why wouldn’t someone have found this to be illegal?
  14. Funny you should ask – did we mention that the NSA’s phone tracking program was just ruled illegal by a federal appeals court?
  15. So we have ineffective and illegal. And far-reaching. And abusive. And…

What more does Congress need to scrap this mass surveillance of our lives and relationships? Let Section 215 die.

To be continued! Stay tuned for Part 4, coming soon to this page, or sign up for ACLU Action emails to receive it straight to your inbox.

  1. You need to take a deep breath. Like your therapist taught you.
  2. And maybe take a drive. That always clears your head.
  3. Except that you just remembered that article you read about the proliferating use of automated license-plate readers.
  4. Those devices can grab an image of your license plate and in many cases, of the driver. Say cheese!
  5. If the NSA can demand data from the private corporations that created those systems, doesn’t that mean the government can track your movements? (You’re suddenly jealous of your car-less friend in NYC.)
  6. What happens if your license plate is ever misidentified due to a blurry camera shot, and you’re incorrectly red flagged as a wrongdoer? Good luck getting THAT sorted out with the NSA.
  7. And what else could they use that kind of license-plate technology for? Could a government agency or police department, say, use it to spy on who worships at a certain mosque? Oh whoops, yeah – that happened in 2011.
  8. You’re getting more and more worked up. Is the media doing enough to educate everyone?! You reach for your phone to call a friend who’s a journalist.
  9. Wait. What will the NSA think about you calling a journalist? You put your phone away. No, wait. You turn it off. Wait, that’s not enough either! You put it in the freezer.
  10. Maybe you’ll send her a carrier pigeon.
  11. Clearly you need a nice, quiet, device-free walk.
  12. So you take a walk in the park. Ahh! Nothing beats fresh air…reminds you of that time you were in the Rocky Mountains in the summer of 2001, when things were simpler.
  13. Before 9/11. Before the Patriot Act was passed in a frenzy, under immense pressure, in a scary and stressful time.
  14. Wait. Do they have your pre-9/11 email metadata, too? Like all the ones you sent in high school from BlondeyLovesRoss& All those messages detailing everything you ever dreamed about your gym teacher?
  15. If you had to make a momentous decision in the heat of the moment, wouldn’t it be great if you got the opportunity for a do-over once all the facts were known?
  16. Well, you’re in luck! Section 215’s sunset “do-over” date is fast approaching. Now that just about everybody (progressives and conservatives, lawyers and judges alike) has agreed that the NSA’s phone-records program is illegal, isn’t it time to finally let it die?

Tell Congress to let an outdated and harmful law die.

  1. Oh boy, only 30 reasons to go! You’ve got this!
  2. No really, piece of cake. If only killing Section 215 was as easy as finishing a list of reasons Section 215 needs to go away.
  3. Speaking of finishing things, your elected representatives are about to go on recess (kickball and monkey bars optional). What a relief after all of that exhausting work they’ve done not getting rid of Section 215!
  4. The recess means you only have a day left (unless they decide to work through the weekend… they’re definitely not going to be happy about that) to tell your congressional leaders to end this madness that is Section 215. Madness!
  5. I mean, can you imagine the things we take for granted – some of our most cherished personal liberties – that might’ve never been possible in today’s climate of surveillance?
  6. Things like the civil rights movement, the gay rights movement, and the environmental movement all seemed transgressive at one point. Their members would have had every reason to fear the government surveilling their phone calls, financial transactions, library records, and more, all without a warrant.
  7. The government targeted surveillance directly at these movements, even tracking leaders like MLK. Now that’s a sobering thought. Almost makes you want to have a drink.
  8. If the deviance of today is sometimes the progress of tomorrow, then knowledge of constant surveillance could be stifling the growth of movements and ideas we can’t even conceive of now.
  9. Which is why it goes far beyond whether you’re ok with the NSA knowing that you placed a call to that Middle Eastern takeout place in Queens. (The one with the surveillance camera across the street. The one that has no actual connection to wrongdoing.)
  10. It’s about being able to pursue our relationships, our associations, and our curiosity without looking over our shoulder. Also known as…freedom.
  11. The framers knew all of that. And thus they created a thing called the Fourth Amendment.
  12. You know, the one that protects innocent people from unreasonable searches and seizures?
  13. The First Amendment, too. The one that’s about free expression and association.
  14. So tell us more about how you’re an open book with nothing to hide?
  15. Get it together. You can’t let this ruin your life. The NSA can’t win. Big brother needs the tables turned on him.
  16. This is America, so many people fought for these rights (and died for them), we can’t let them get away with it.
  17. You can do something. You can do a lot of things.

Firstly, you can sign our petition telling your representatives in Congress to scrap Section 215 of the Patriot Act for good.

  1. You can call your elected reps! I mean you vote them into and out of office, so shouldn’t you get to tell them what you want? Shouldn’t they have to listen?
  2. You could tweet at them, and write on their public Facebook walls. (Keep it civil, but be honest about how you feel about illegal surveillance. Your reps will read it, and maybe the NSA will too!)
  3. You could send them emails – you could send them 215 reasons why they should let Section 215 die. Maybe even one reason per email. That should fill their inboxes up pretty well.
  4. And also maybe fulfill your writing aspirations now that you’ve put away your Great American Novel. It’s easy. Trust us. Rolls right off the finger tips.
  5. You could talk to your friends, your family, your neighbor with the loud dog, your postman, the guy who works in your corner store, the grocery clerk, the salesmen that come to your door every Saturday morning when you’re trying to make pancakes, all of them… you could tell them why they should care about their privacy.
  6. There’s no reason to accept the government as a permanent, ever-present sidekick that you can never unfriend.
  7. Or the government as a chaperone on every bad date, or the government as an unwanted ride-along buddy every time you go for a drive.
  8. Section 215 is a slippery slope – a steady dismantling of personal privacy; an erosion of protection against government intrusion into your intimate activities.
  9. Hopefully, over the course of the last 209 reasons, you’ve seen how having “nothing to hide” isn’t a remotely comforting thought.
  10. Not when an innocuous series of actions (naked mole rats! grandpa’s gout! anxiety meds!) – can actually be strung together to make you look you’ve engaged in arbitrarily defined “suspicious activities.”
  11. If the government has no reason to think you’ve done something wrong, you should not be under surveillance. Period.
  12. The government should NOT be able to track all of this information about your day-to-day life. Period.
  13. The United States Constitution enshrines these protections of your civil liberties. PERIOD.
  14. And it is high time for us to say “enough”!!! SECTION 215 MUST GO! Shout it from the rooftops! Tell your elected officials! Fight back!!
  15. The end.
  16. Wait, we’re past 215? We could go on forever!

Let’s not let government mass surveillance go on forever – take a stand against it today.

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