While some may be celebrating on Independence Day with sparklers, hotdogs and pool parties, some of the biggest names on the internet will join thousands of protesters across 100 cities to Restore the Fourth — a grassroots campaign designed to raise discussion in Congress about the rules and regulations of the Fourth Amendment.
The non-violent protests are in response to documents leaked by Edward Snowden that show the NSA and its data-tracking initiative PRISM had been secretly gathering online and mobile data. With Snowden on the run nearly a month later — desperately seeking asylum in an international embassy — the conversation has turned to the future, and how U.S. citizens can guard their private data from warrantless collection. Restore the Fourth has sprung up rather quickly — organizing a national campaign in less than a month.
The Internet Defense League, a coalition of web companies against government control of the internet and its data that formed after the SOPA blackout in 2012, is also getting in on the action. Reddit released its own blog post announcing the rally and continues to hold conversations with organizers and participants at /r/restorethefourth. The league’s other members, including Mozilla and WordPress, are also involved in the rally, which was recently endorsed by the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
The rally’s website has a comprehensive and interactive map that shows where rallies are held city-by-city, and include links to organizer pages. The organization is also running a concurrent Indiegogo campaign for the next six days, a donation drive that will put money towards grassroots online advertising of events in the form of promoted Facebook posts and structuring the organization to fight the big battle with congress in the courts.
But protests aren’t the only way the organizers are looking to hold an audience:
“What do you do while you BBQ and drink beer? You talk to your friends!” Redditor and organizer douglasmacarthur wrote during the organization’s AMA today. “What better thing to talk to them about than the future of the nation they’re currently celebrating? Set it up so you can BBQ and drink beer with them while you discuss the constitution and hand out literature.”