Online activists hope to use Congress’ power of the purse to remove funding from domestic surveillance; they are rallying behind an amendment set for a vote on Tuesday.

US flag, propaganda, PRISM
photo: Marina99

Online activists have launched a website called “Defund the NSA” in order to collect signatures in support of a legislative amendment that would bar federal funding for warrantless surveillance of Americans. (Update: A vote on the amendment fell short on Wednesday by 12 votes despite a coalition in support between liberal Democrats and libertarian Republicans).

The site is gaining traction on popular sites like Hacker News and Reddit and could provide a boost to Rep. Justin Amash, a Michigan Republican popular among libertarians, who wrote the amendment.

The amendment, which is scheduled for a vote on Tuesday, comes as part of a process to approve the Department of Defense Appropriations Act of 2014, the annual bill that funds America’s military operations.

Under Amash’s proposal, Congress would not grant any money to the NSA for surveillance activity of the sort disclosed in the recent phone and PRISM controversies — those controversies concerned programs under which the NSA relied on anti-terrorism laws aimed at foreigners in order to collect metadata about Americans.

The summary of the Amendment reads like this:

Ends authority for the blanket collection of records under the Patriot Act. Bars the NSA and other agencies from using Section 215 of the Patriot Act to collect records, including telephone call records, that pertain to persons who are not subject to an investigation under Section 215.

The “Defund the NSA” website was thrown up in 5 hours, according to an email from Sina Khanifar, one of the creators. The activist group also created the recent “restorethefourth” site to back Fourth Amendment protection on July 4th.

It’s unclear how much impact these pop-up style websites have on the legislative process. Last year, online activists at sites like Reddit notched a major victory by halting the anti-piracy legislation known as SOPA; however, internet activists have yet to once again obtain such a critical mass of political power.

The Amash proposal is set for a vote today but, according to the Daily Caller’s report on the story, House leadership is opposed to amendments to the bill.

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  1. darylgstewart Tuesday, July 23, 2013

    Let me guess! The vote to defund NSA will be electronic, no? I wonder how that will turn out? Or am I overly paranoid?

  2. The NSA really is in the firing line here, Snowden is causing more harm to them and teh relentless pursuit the US has for him is just going against them at the moment.


  3. ThinkLiberty1984 Thursday, July 25, 2013

    NSA tracking happening just like the film predicted. PRISM is eerily like the fictitious URTS in the indi film that came out a few years ago “Uncivil Liberties”. The hero of the story is like Snowden. Wonder if he was inspired to act by the film. http://www.uncivilliberties.com to see the trailer.

  4. somebody else said it…………… a monitored society is not a free society ….. I have gladly served and many others have given their life for freedom. Not freedom for a government to analyze disent but freedom to discent. Freedom to move and act within the law without the constant threat of charges construed from documents unobtainable because they are “classified”. I am truly disappointed in the leadership of the country but proud of my local congressman who voted to protect my privacy. I am a American for Constirutional Liberty. How about you?

  5. Reuben Castro Acosta Wednesday, July 31, 2013


  6. Internet Surveillance Tuesday, August 6, 2013

    Why on earth have we resulted in a monitored society?? I thought America was the land of opportunity and free speech.

  7. I Predict That It Will Fail The Windfall Of Corruption And Ignorance And The Unfortunate Lack Of Support And Votes. An Compete Waste Of Both Time And Money.

  8. The law of the land is the 1st and 14th amendment to the US Constitution. Please don’t concede one point to these liars in DC, Everyone should read and be aware of procedures to amend the Constitution, including approval by States. Don’t let them get away with their magic show, and convince you that they can be trusted, and are telling us the truth. They have lied, and tried to conceal this from the public, and finally tried to incarcerate anyone who exposed their outright deceit.

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