Almost as old as the United States of America itself, this particular portion of the Bill of Rights known as the fourth amendment prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures and requires any warrant to be judicially sanctioned and supported by probable cause. It states -
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
As many who are vigilant against the activities of the US Government and its intelligence network have pointed out since late 2001, the police state is growing in its clandestine watches against its citizens. It took the audacious acts of Edward Snowden in the early 2013 to actually wake a few more Americans to the issue. Though a bit more familiar, we remain woefully clueless and apathetic about our eroding privacy. And the Government continues to expand its reach.
Unsurprisingly, there is a neighbor of the fourth amendment under a similar onslaught. Though I happen to fall on a different side of the debate, I find it admirable that the proponents of gun ownership have attached themselves so tightly to the second amendment which, according to the text, merely states -
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed
Though its various words and phrases are perpetually in question, the second amendment is seen nationally as sacred and not to be infringed upon. It is considered sacrosanct enough to be attributed to the founding fathers who must have intended American’s to always have the right to bear arms. Yet, we forget that the fourth amendment too is a creation of the same founding fathers (introduced by James Madison and announced by Thomas Jefferson).
What is obviously lacking isn’t patriotism or some sense of right or wrong. What I believe is lacking is the mean marketing machine that is the benefactor of the second amendment (and incidentally the beneficiary). If the NRA didn’t exist, would the general public alone be able to protect its right to bear arms?
Many of us in the tech world expressed outrage, chagrin, and outright anger at Snowden’s revelations. We teamed up against SOPA and PIPA (and for a short time, won), we rallied against ACPA, immigration laws etc., but always went back to our keyboards, expecting our lives to remain normal and untouched by the bureaucrats. How wrong we were. We need an organization, national in scope, mean in execution, persistent and tenacious. We need an NRA like entity to protect the citizenry from unlawful search and seizure, illegal and warrantless data collection by the NSA, and the propaganda unleashed by Congress and its minions daily.
It turns out that we do have such an organization that is equipped to do many of these things but needs every ‘gun owner’ to join the battle – that is anyone utilizing a computer, a smartphone, a telephone, or a tablet to support the EFF. Follow its writings, its protests, and its campaigns to get to Congress. Support it with your cold hard cash so it can fund the fight, Distribute its links on social media. NSA spying isn’t all the EFF monitors, but the simple history and timeline will get you on your journey.
Join the EFF here.