Howdy I'm Kinetic Theorist on twitter and folks call me KT. I'm a member of MassOps, and I was asked to speak here today by Restore the Fourth on a couple privacy issues I've faced as an activist and I was asked to read a statement I gave as testimony on upcoming privacy legislation to the Massachusetts state Legislature.
I'm not sure what proper greeting of Orwell day should be, not merry Orwell to you but perhaps have a double plus good Orwell day- or today is more equal? In any case thanks for joining us here. Two months ago MassOps held IDP the international day of privacy here at the BRIC and I gave a speech then as well. Two months ago I stood around the corner and yelled through a megaphone a then unproven accusation that our government had in essence ended privacy. The opening lines of the speech were “Dear friends today is IDP the International Day of Privacy. Here in Massachusetts more than maybe anywhere else in America today is a day to speak out about the complete lack of privacy we have as citizens. When I say there is a complete lack of privacy I mean we have none whatsoever.” days later Snowden's leak showed that the lack of privacy was real and total, and that everyday citizens were in fact targeted. The goal of my IDP speech was to begin a pushback... well here today I see that pushback in progress. We are growing in number and shouting louder than ever here and everywhere, and we will not allow our constitutional freedoms and our natural human rights to continue to be subverted by the government to serve corporate interests. We will be free. We will not live under their boot.
Wishing to remain private isn't criminal and doesn't denote criminality as folks who casually say “I’ve nothing to hide” suppose. I bet they shut the bathroom door too. Privacy is freedom- it's the freedom to speak think associate and conduct legal activity without undo scrutiny and it is absolutely key to a free society. The horror of big brother isn't the surveillance it's the ability to make individuals self censor and avoid associations with ideas and each other. It is the power to stop would be whistle blowers from leaking information to a “free press” because they know the walls (or basically anything with a computer chip) have ears and eyes. Domestic spying is a attack on freedom and nothing else, and it is the powder to punish those who speak out.
This is the testimony I gave to the Massachusetts legislature on July 9th about how my privacy has been grievously violated due to my activism and it is part of how I have pushed back:
" I'm an activist here in Massachusetts. I'm here today because you are my representative voice in state governance and you have a choice between two divergent paths in terms of privacy. I am a Verizon customer and a former occupier so for me the fact of criminally breached privacy is personal. On the one hand you could follow the federal government and take unAmerican unconstitutional steps to limit citizens rights and on the other hand you could take steps to protect the citizens of the Commonwealth from having their rights stripped from them. It is my sincere hope that you will choose the latter.
Over the past month Edward Snowden a former NSA contractor has made the world aware of both domestic and foreign surveillance by the US government. I mentioned that I am a Verizon customer because it is now a known fact that without a warrant specific to me or to any investigation I might have been involved in my personal data has been handed to the government to be stored and scrutinized under a general warrant. General warrants are exactly what the bill of rights prohibits. I also mentioned I am a former occupier because thanks to Freedom of Information Act requests it is known fact that the occupiers in Boston were processed as an “extremist” and a “potential terrorists” by our local fusion center with the help of Boston Police. I have already personally run afoul of our massive domestic surveillance at least twice despite never being arrested or facing charges or as far as I know even having a warrant specific to me. I ask that you please protect my privacy and the privacy of the citizens of the commonwealth.
You are looking at a proposals like the Free Speech act and the Electronic Privacy act which would- if passed- bring the requirement of a warrant to access electronic communications. Opposite those bills there is “An act updating the wire interception law” which dramatically expands the state level law enforcement's ability to wiretap. I strongly urge you to pass into law strong protective measures for citizen communications and vote down “an act updating the wire interception law”. The trend right now is to gather and hoard massive piles of data but this will not make us more secure, it will make us less safe and less free. For instance look how the NYPD have used their access to the FBI National Crime Information Center database, AP reported on a whole slew of misuses ranging from snooping into peoples data outside of the context of law enforcement to surveillance of a location before an armed robbery, to the officer who was using the database to select victims to kill and eat. I ask that you keep Massachusetts citizens data out of such hoards. It only takes one person to expose any or all of our personal communications, our location, and whatever other information gets stored. Law enforcement should spend more time reading the constitution that they've sworn to protect and less time reading my emails.
Our law enforcement does not need military equipment to do their job. They are not facing an opposing army. They certainly don't need drones. Currently the FBI is flying drones domestically without any restrictions on use, so today I ask that you consider ways to limit drone use within Massachusetts. The ACLU has made suggestions about how to do this, so all I will say is please make sure that drones can only be deployed without weapons and only when there are very specific warrants attached to their use. Drones have been used by our government to assassinate US citizens (our government confirms four such cases) so it is particularly worrisome that they are being used domestically without any guidelines.
Our government is founded on a set of documents that forms a contract about how we will be governed. There is a federal level contract and a state level contract, and at both levels there are protections from search and seizure without probable cause, and a right of citizens to communicate unmolested by the eyes of government. This is a right that on the federal level has been unquestionably breached. You can follow the Federal legislature down that rabbit-hole and enjoy the same 10% favor-ability polling they have or you can rebuke the trend and take steps to live up to the contract you have with we the people. Boston is the birthplace of the fourth amendment, and today you are in the position to protect that heritage. Please do not fail.
The legislative session is two years long so we'll see which path they go down
In closing I challenge everyone here to continue to push back despite the fact that it can be scary. The people in this building have asserted I am basically a peaceful nonviolent terrorist, and I'm sure many of you are also peaceful nonviolent terrorists like me according to them. Peaceful terrorists is DHS's perfect example of Orwellian double-speak. Under the NDAA though this designation of terrorist carries with it the penalty of detention without end or trial, or it can mean execution. The people in this building have in fact written a basic death warrant for us, and it's all of us because the NDAA of course extends this suspension of due process out to those who aid terrorists... by being associated with them. look at Todashev down in Florida who knew the alleged bombers years ago, the FBI questioned him so hard he died unarmed with six bullets in his chest and one to the back of his head- no charges no crime just executed for the NDAA crime of suspicion of association. These people are part of DHS and have been stockpiling billions of rounds of ammo which can't be used out of country because it's against the Geneva convention... and we're being told “trust us.” well I don't trust them. They have been lying, spying, writing death warrants, stockpiling ammo, and executing Americans. Our lives are already on the line, so no matter how scary it gets we simply must push back. We must confront their lies with truth bring transparency to their secrecy and in doing so we must band together and look out for each other as a community of dissenters. Nonviolence trumps violence honesty in the face of lies wins, so be honest be nonviolent and never be silenced by fear. Remember if we allow them to remove our civil and human rights we are admitting to being less than human, and they will treat us accordingly. Get involved and assert your humanity with any of these groups here.