Group protests government invasion of privacy

Aug 5, 2013

fourth amendment, restore the fourth
A young boy holds up sign at protest in Salt Lake City.
Credit RYAN CUNNINGHAM

Protesters from the “Restore the Fourth” movement gathered in downtown Salt Lake City on Sunday.  The group, which began as an online community, is dedicated to preserving Fourth Amendment rights, particularly in light of NSA leaker Edward Snowden’s revelations about the government’s handling of cell phone metadata.

“Restore the Fourth” supporters met outside the Scott Matheson Courthouse for what they called “1984 Day.” The day was named after George Orwell’s classic novel, often cited as a warning of state surveillance run amuck.


Former U.S. Senate candidate Pete Ashdown owns X Mission, an internet service provider. He supports “Restore the Fourth” and believes the mass collection of his clients’ data would be unconstitutional.

"I’m not saying that warrants should be eliminated. Warrants are acceptable under the Fourth Amendment. What is not acceptable under the Fourth Amendment is saying all of my customers can get a warrant for probable cause. I’m pretty sure all of my customers are not involved in a crime," Ashdown said.

Sandy resident Macey Booth has been active in “Restore the Fourth” since June of this year. While this protest drew considerably less interest than the Fourth of July demonstrations at the NSA Data Center in Bluffdale, Booth cautions against dismissing her fight as a lost cause.

"If you’re just gonna sit here and let it happen, then you deserve to have this happen. There’s a lot of people out there who aren’t willing to let it happen, and we’re gonna stand up, we’re going to show up at the courthouse on Sunday and we’re going to listen to a couple people talk. We’re gonna show to our representatives that their constituency is not happy about it," Booth said.