Thousands Rallied In DC This Weekend Against NSA Spying

from the a-change-is-gonna-come dept

Last week, we mentioned that the Stop Watching Us coalition had put together a rally against surveillance in Washington DC this weekend, and it turned out to be a massive success. USA Today had some pretty good coverage, noting that thousands attended. The official count we heard was that more than 3,000 ended up attending, which is mighty impressive. It also was the top story on the NBC evening news. Attendees also delivered a petition to Congress signed by nearly 600,000 people demanding that Congress do something about the NSA surveillance. There's a great three-minute summary video.
Considering this was put together in a very short period of time and not by any of the "usual" well-connected DC organizers, it looks like a tremendous success. Congrats to everyone involved, though, as lots of people noted, this was only the beginning of a very long process. That process looks to take another big step tomorrow with the expected introduction of the USA Freedom Act, but there's still plenty of work that needs to get done.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    icon
    Ninja (profile), Oct 28th, 2013 @ 2:06am

    I'm kind of disappointed with the number of attendees, I was expecting something near the 10-15 thousand range. Not downplaying it by all means but for such a serious issue I'd expect more. I wonder what kept people from attending. Fear of being marked by law enforcement? Lack of awareness?

    In any case considering we are talking about America (and its lack of tradition in such protests) it was a great job!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    identicon
    S. T. Stone, Oct 28th, 2013 @ 3:52am

    Re:

    I wonder what kept people from attending. Fear of being marked by law enforcement? Lack of awareness?

    Probably that combined with, as Mike said, the organizers putting this together on short notice and without the help of the ‘“usual” well-connected DC organizers’.

    It’s a start, though.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 28th, 2013 @ 3:58am

    Re:

    Most likely the proximity. Not everyone could make it to DC within that time frame. Plus, I don't know how many would afford to fly all the way to DC for one afternoon just to hear people speak out against bad laws.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 28th, 2013 @ 4:06am

    Re: Re:

    Did anybody find themselves on the no-fly list fly after this rally, or anybody threatened with no-fly on their way home to coerce them into assisting the Feds? Either is possible when anonymity is not respected, and due process not required.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 28th, 2013 @ 4:16am

    well done to all those involved. i certainly hope it has the desired effect.
    my concern is, like a lot of others i am sure, that no notice will be taken at all by any of the security agencies! all that will happen is that someone will get a wrist slap rather than locked up for life as a terrorist or similar, like if it had been an ordinary person doing something not liked (Snowden) and life will carry on the same, just a little bit more buried, a little bit more difficult to find out about and expose.
    when Obama is saying that had he known about the Merkal spying, he would have stopped it, what does that actually tell you? that no one is taking any notice of the top dog, or he is lying like the rest of them. whichever it is, it aint gonna stop!!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    icon
    Ninja (profile), Oct 28th, 2013 @ 4:41am

    Re: Re:

    I'd go for the short notice issue. I'm seeing a population of 650k more or less in DC alone but I'm guessing the metropolitan area goes for over 1 million people. So.. 3k seems very little in that sense. Then again it is 3-goddamn-thousand on the streets. This is no small feat anyway.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    icon
    Ninja (profile), Oct 28th, 2013 @ 4:47am

    Re: Re:

    That. I haven't checked the pics but it could be that the official count is underestimating on purpose much like it was done here in Brazil. We had 300k on the streets according to the authorities but another event that had an estimated public of over 1 million occupied the same space on the pictures...

    Which brings us to another issue: Brazil managed to put over 300k (using the official number) on the streets with a facebook event because people thought that increasing 20 cents in the buss fare was too much. You see, I'm not trying to say Brazil (or Egypt, or whatever other protests) is better or something, I'm just thinking this is a much more serious issue so I expected a bit more.

    Still I must emphasize and stress that it was awesome and even if *I* consider the attendance somewhat low it does not mean it wasn't successful.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    icon
    Ninja (profile), Oct 28th, 2013 @ 4:49am

    Re:

    If anything it has risen even more awareness which by itself is awesome!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 28th, 2013 @ 4:49am

    Re:

    "that no notice will be taken at all by any of the security agencies!"

    Oh I'm quite sure they security agencies will take notice of this.

    They can build a list of "adversaries"/"targets" from the attendees.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    identicon
    David, Oct 28th, 2013 @ 4:53am

    Re: Re:

    Plus, I don't know how many would afford to fly all the way to DC for one afternoon just to hear people speak out against bad laws.

    Or how many were detained at the airport for so long because of having communicated with the wrong people that attending was no longer realistic...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 28th, 2013 @ 5:45am

    Re: Re:

    They WILL build a list of "adversaries"/"targets" from the attendees.

    FTFY

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    icon
    That One Guy (profile), Oct 28th, 2013 @ 5:51am

    Re: Re:

    They already have a list like that, didn't you hear? It's called the census, and contains a list of 300 million or so 'potential terrorists' they're trying to keep an eye on.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 28th, 2013 @ 5:55am

    National coverage was pretty weak. This CBS report was stomach-churningly apologist to the NSA. Foreign journalists were more interested than domestic.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZT1ACmLvX_0

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 28th, 2013 @ 5:59am

    Re:

    "several hundred" actual number ~3000. Stay classy mainstream media.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 28th, 2013 @ 6:06am

    Re:

    Best part starts at 2:22

    "Would you expect there to be any chilling effect on US intelligence gathering?"

    Referring to the bugging of world leaders as "diplomatic ruffled feathers"

    "Distraction from Chinese and Russian 'cyber espionage'"

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    horse with no name, Oct 28th, 2013 @ 6:19am

    troubling numbers

    Some media reports have this as low as "hundreds" where the "thousands" numbers tend to be those who are copypaste reporting from the EFF press release.

    There are no real big overview crowd shots or photographs, that's usually a good way to tell that the group isn't all that big.

    (and more Techdirt censorship as my posts are held for moderation - you guys are classic!)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 28th, 2013 @ 6:42am

    Petition to do 'Something'

    " Attendees also delivered a petition to Congress signed by nearly 600,000 people demanding that Congress do something about the NSA surveillance."

    Really? What if that 'Something' is worse than the 'thing' they are doing now?

    How about we all sign a petition that says, dismantle the system spying on Americans or else we American citizens will just take turns shoving a camera/mic in YOUR face every place you go in public.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 28th, 2013 @ 6:47am

    Re: Petition to do 'Something'

    The petition was pretty clear of its stated goals.

    1. Enact reform this Congress to Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act, the state secrets privilege, and the FISA Amendments Act to make clear that blanket surveillance of the Internet activity and phone records of any person residing in the U.S. is prohibited by law and that violations can be reviewed in adversarial proceedings before a public court;

    2. Create a special committee to investigate, report, and reveal to the public the extent of this domestic spying. This committee should create specific recommendations for legal and regulatory reform to end unconstitutional surveillance;

    3. Hold accountable those public officials who are found to be responsible for this unconstitutional surveillance.

    https://optin.stopwatching.us/

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 28th, 2013 @ 7:01am

    Re: Re: Re:

    In America, we can be fired from our jobs for being seen at a protest.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 28th, 2013 @ 7:03am

    I was watching one of the live streams of the event and the number of distinct viewers reached like 155k.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 28th, 2013 @ 7:07am

    Re: Re: Re:

    It also wasn't isolated to one city. People were out in a few places.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
    icon
    HungryCats (profile), Oct 28th, 2013 @ 7:53am

    Re: Attendence

    I agree. The event was fun and I'm glad I went, but had hoped for more people. I don't understand why I'm concerned about this issue, but so many are not. Anyway, really glad organizations are raising awareness and that people are beginning to participate more.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
    icon
    Ninja (profile), Oct 28th, 2013 @ 8:45am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    It may happen anywhere. But staying indoors isn't leading people to anywhere beautiful is it?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 28th, 2013 @ 8:57am

    Hate to be that guy, but does anyone remember how we punished the TElcos when they were caught..oh right..it will be the same. They wont change until we physically force them too. It will literally take public executions to get these psychopaths in line imo. I dread those days, if they come, due to what it will mean for our society. They started it, though.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25.  
    icon
    Mike Masnick (profile), Oct 28th, 2013 @ 10:17am

    Re:

    I'm kind of disappointed with the number of attendees, I was expecting something near the 10-15 thousand range. Not downplaying it by all means but for such a serious issue I'd expect more. I wonder what kept people from attending. Fear of being marked by law enforcement? Lack of awareness?

    The US doesn't have a public protest culture like many other places. 3,000 turnout is HUGE by US standards.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 28th, 2013 @ 11:47am

    Re: Re:

    100k turned out in Oakland during the Occupy movement. 3k isn't large.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 28th, 2013 @ 11:55am

    Re: Re:

    "I'm kind of disappointed with the number of attendees, I was expecting something near the 10-15 thousand range. Not downplaying it by all means but for such a serious issue I'd expect more. I wonder what kept people from attending. Fear of being marked by law enforcement? Lack of awareness?"

    The US doesn't have a public protest culture like many other places.

    Really?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_protest_marches_on_Washington,_D.C.

    Hell, the Million Puppet March in 2012 managed 1,500 to encourage continued funding of public broadcasting.

    3,000 turnout is HUGE by US standards.

    Even the protest organizers are only claiming 2000. And they have every reason to puff up the numbers. The first rule of DC cause-related protests, is don't be embarrassing. This was, by even the most charitable yardstick, an abject failure. You don't scare official Washington with group of 2000 that includes Code Pink (pacifists) gay groups, Teabaggers, black activist groups, Occupy Wall Street and the homeless. Those groups were there to wave their flag for their cause. They were there for the free publicity (such as it was).

    "Estimates varied on the size of the march, with organizers saying more than 2,000 attended. U.S. Capitol Police said they do not typically provide estimates on the size of demonstrations."

    http://www.thestar.com.my/News/World/2013/10/27/Hundreds-march-in-Washington-against-NSA-spying.aspx

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 28th, 2013 @ 12:10pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Good news! The Million Mask March is coming up in less than two weeks. Now what's your excuse not to go?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 28th, 2013 @ 12:12pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    I'd go for the short notice issue. I'm seeing a population of 650k more or less in DC alone but I'm guessing the metropolitan area goes for over 1 million people. So.. 3k seems very little in that sense. Then again it is 3-goddamn-thousand on the streets. This is no small feat anyway.

    I went to a high school football game on Friday night. Attendance was about 2,300. Look closely, there's a message for you here.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30.  
    icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), Oct 28th, 2013 @ 1:24pm

    They should have gone naked.

    I expect this is going to be ignored until we see an occupy movement gunned down by the police after a couple of weeks.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 28th, 2013 @ 2:03pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Just remember to leave your phone and car at home, and pay cash for everything, including public transport to and from the protest. Buying ticket to get to and from the area of a protest, or using a card in the area of the protest around the time of a protest is sufficient to tie some to a protest if they are not normally anywhere near the area of the protest.
    It's a bit difficult being anonymous at or near a protest these days, which links people to the protest whether they took part or just went along to see the fun. Welcome to the world of total information gathering, where any available information will be used against you if it possibly can, and it suites those in power to do so.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32.  
    icon
    AC Unknown (profile), Oct 28th, 2013 @ 10:31pm

    Re: troubling numbers

    You spam the same shit over and over again, your comments get held in moderation due to a spam filter. It's that simple.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    horse with no name, Oct 28th, 2013 @ 11:50pm

    Re: Re: troubling numbers

    I don't spam anything. Not a single link in any of my posts, and each and every post without exception is on topic and relevant to the discussion - even if it's answer people like you who clearly don't understand.

    Spam isn't the issue - telling the other side of the story is.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  34.  
    icon
    Mike Masnick (profile), Oct 29th, 2013 @ 12:44am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Really?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_protest_marches_on_Washington,_D.C.


    Yes really. Your link doesn't work, but he's comparing it to Brazil. And I know you don't know shit outside your echo chamber in DC, but the US doesn't match protests in places like Brazil (where the original commenter says he's from) or Europe, where protesting is a way of life.

    Even the protest organizers are only claiming 2000.

    Not true. They're claiming 5,000 (according to the emails from them directly). The most credible reports I've seen have said 3,000.

    Again, given the situation, the amount of time, and the lack of DC insiders to organize, that's amazing.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  35. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 29th, 2013 @ 6:57am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I saw it on TV here, I would estimate no more than about 300 tops attended, very thin crown indeed.

    Certainly NO WHERE NEAR enough to make even the slightest difference, if anything more a confirmation of just how little the "people" actually care.

    Was there any arrests, people placed on no fly lists, or overt spying on these people ? Was the 'protest' broken up, or did the media not attend, as was predicted here on TD ?

    NO WAY was there even 1000 people, let alone "thousands", again 300 tops, if that !

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  36. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 29th, 2013 @ 7:07am

    300 tops, no where NEAR 1000, look at the footage yourself.

    300 is piss poor. Just as is claiming "thousands" !!!
    I am guessing no one from TD was there representing, or actually finding out first hand what the actual facts were!!

    Too easy to copy/paste reporting, lazy mans blogging !!

    "Not true. They're claiming 5,000 (according to the emails from them directly)."

    SOLID GOLD that !!!! I wonder why they would have any reason to inflate the number, like add a zero or something.

    I guess you can could, and I also guess you've seen footage of the 'mass' protest, I guess you also notice the lack of wide angle shots, there is a reason for that you know !!!

    Again, if there was more than 1 in a million US Citizens there (300 people) I would be very surprised.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  37. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 29th, 2013 @ 7:12am

    watch at 12 seconds

    they all went there because she was going to flash her tits at that time.. At least I got something out of watching that LOL

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  38.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 30th, 2013 @ 6:18am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Again, given the situation, the amount of time, and the lack of DC insiders to organize, that's amazing.

    I guess if you set the bar low enough, anything can become "amazing".

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  39.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 3rd, 2013 @ 6:33pm

    Re: Re: Re: troubling numbers

    DMCAed, you lying sack of shit.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  40.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 3rd, 2013 @ 6:35pm

    Re:

    You are piss poor. DMCAed, you solar panel jackass.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  41.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 24th, 2013 @ 5:37pm

    Re: watch at 12 seconds

    At least they're tits of human flesh, not tits of solar panel. Have a report vote.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
A word from our sponsors...
Essential Reading
Techdirt Reading List
Techdirt Insider Chat
A word from our sponsors...
Recent Stories
A word from our sponsors...

Close

Email This