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Chris Alan Williams/Medill

The Chicago chapter of Restore the Fourth gathered at Daley Plaza before marching through the Loop.

Local activists march for freedom from NSA data collection

by Chris Alan Williams
Feb 12, 2014


Chris Alan Williams/MEDILL

Protesters gather at Daley Plaza on Tuesday before marching on opposition to the NSA's data collection practices.

The USA Freedom Act is a "small step" toward combating the National Security Agency's data collection efforts that include collecting personal phone data, according to members of Restore the Fourth, which protested these actions Tuesday at Daley Plaza.

"It does not go as far as" he would like, said Mike Paus, the group's Facebook administrator, but “I’m a realist.”

This was the third such march to advocate for personal privacy, according to organizers. The first was on the Fourth of July 2013; the second was Oct. 26, the 12th anniversary of the Patriot Act, when the NSA first gained its massive data collection powers.

Organizer Trajan McGill said the Chicago chapter has, “taken the lead of,” reading the proposed legislation and “posting our analysis online for other chapters.”

In 2013, Kathryn Callaghan organized a meeting with Rep. Jan Schakowsky, who “listened carefully to what we had to say and a few weeks later co-sponsored” the USA Freedom Act.

“Legislators have to hear from people directly,” Callaghan said.

Paus wants to see congressional members host more town hall events: “If it were up to me, I would require a town hall meeting once a week when a representative is in recess,” Paus said.