Here's the Quick and Effective Way You Can Fight NSA Surveillance

Calling your elected representatives can put a stop to spying. Join the 5,000 Americans who—every hour—are ringing the phones in Washington today.

(Photo: Erkan Avci/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Feb 11, 2014· 2 MIN READ
Shaya Tayefe Mohajer is TakePart's News Editor.

Tweet your anger about federal surveillance of Americans all you want, but political insiders know: Few things grab the attention of your elected representatives as effectively as phone calls to their offices.

Since judges have failed to rein in the National Security Agency, and the president has made promises that have rung hollow with the public, the leading defender of our digital rights, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, has come up with a way to help Americans voice their demands for a sane approach to national security: It's an event called "The Day We Fight Back."

"We can’t have a free and uncensored Internet if it’s got this shadow of government surveillance lurking over it all the time," said Rainey Reitman, activism director for the EFF.

Voters who visit the site are prompted to enter their phone number. Moments later their phone rings, and it's the Electronic Frontier Foundation, asking for a zip code.

Once you enter that detail, EFF connects you to your senator, and then your House rep—you know, the people you hired to represent you in Washington. They should hear your thoughts, shouldn't they?

From there you can read from the script the EFF provides or freely talk about what's wrong with the way our government is watching us.

You won't be alone: The rights group reported that more than 35,000 calls had been placed before noon—at a rate of about 5,000 an hour—by everyday Americans.

On top of that, more than 100,000 people around the world had signed a petition developed for global watchers who are worried about the U.S. snooping abroad.

The foundation says it is joined by more than 6,000 websites—including those of the ACLU, Google, and Twitter—in today's call for an end to peeping at phone records, emails, address books, buddy lists, online video game chats, text messages, and just about every other form of electronic communication there is.

Why do actions like this matter? It's up to us to do the right thing—especially the majority of us who don't trust our government.

Polls show that Americans overwhelmingly don't trust their government to "do what is right." In December, when asked how much of the time Washington politicians do what is right, “only some of the time” was the answer given by 81 percent of those surveyed. Just 15 percent said they trust the government to do what’s right “most of the time.”

When it comes to your privacy, even independent federal watchdog agencies have found that the NSA's spying isn't stopping terrorists, which is the argument many defenders of the program make.

While the EFF has been calling for limits to the NSA's spying capabilities since before former NSA contractor Edward Snowden's massive media leak revealed the scope of the situation, the pressure on the federal government to explain its peeping habits has heightened.

Let us know what explanation you're given when you call. Sign the petition below, and when you tweet your friends to let them know how they too can call, be sure to use the hashtag #StopTheNSA.

Above all, Internet defenders want to keep the conversation going.

"We’re in this very interesting time in the NSA surveillance debate," said Reitman. "We have President Obama coming forward, and he’s made a few concessions toward reform, and we wanted to make sure that wasn’t the end of the debate."

"We want to pressure Congress to go a lot farther."