Iowa branch of ‘Restore the Fourth’ holding rally in Ped Mall today

Photo via Restore the Fourth Iowa

Restore the Fourth’s Iowa branch is holding an event today at 12:00 p.m. in Iowa City’s Pedestrian Mall. The two hour rally is part of a nationwide Restore the Fourth event dubbed “1984 day,” wherein 20 cities are joining together to “rally against unconstitutional surveillance.”


We demand that our government protect our right to privacy with respect to data from our digital communications devices. This includes metadata, as well as our communications.

Today’s rally will include a speech by former FCC Commissioner and University of Iowa Law Professor Nicholas Johnson. Johnson is an expert on communications and internet law, listed as one of the “leading figures in the history of American law, from the colonial era to the present day” by The Yale Biographical Dictionary of American Law. Johnson also appeared on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine in 1971.

The full agenda is available below, as listed on the Iowa Chapter’s Facebook event page. Attendees are invited to volunteer and read statements made by politicians who spoke in favor of the Amash Amendment last week:


12:00-12:20 p.m. – Warmup time while we wait for everyone to arrive. Meet and greet one another, build a sign, get comfortable, or start handing out literature! We’re just using this time to make sure we don’t officially get started until everyone has arrived.

12:20 p.m. – Welcoming speech and update of RT4’s current status from Restore the Fourth Iowa Local Organizers

12:35 p.m. – Guest Speaker Nicholas Johnson

12:50 p.m. – Explanation of activities we have prepared

12:55-1:00 p.m. – Amash Amendment Debate Reading

1:00- 2:00 p.m. – Open Mic, literature handout, calling of congresspeople, sign waving, etc.

2:00-2:05 p.m. – Wrapup!

Restore the Fourth is a grassroots organization whose national structure developed in the wake of NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden’s information leak to The Guardian this spring. It exists as a loose network of locally run chapters that organize primarily through social media sites like Reddit, with a board of six individuals running the national organization. More recently, the group gained national attention for a series of rallies that took place nationwide on July 4, 2013.

Restore the Fourth rally
Restore the Fourth rally taking place in New York City on July 4, 2013. — Photo via Restore the Fourth NYC

The organization’s official website lists three demands which center, for the most part, around the idea that current domestic surveillance programs like PRISM are violating ‘search and seizure’ protections guaranteed to U.S. citizens under the Fourth Amendment:

1. Enact reform this Congress to Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act, the state secrets privilege, and the FISA Amendments Act to make clear that blanket surveillance of the Internet activity and phone records of any person residing in the U.S. is prohibited by law and that violations can be reviewed in adversarial proceedings before a public court.

2. Create a special committee to investigate, report, and reveal to the public the extent of this domestic spying. This committee should create specific recommendations for legal and regulatory reform to end unconstitutional surveillance.

3. Hold accountable those public officials who are found to be responsible for this unconstitutional surveillance