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The League of Women Voters of Evanston will present a program on government violation of the right to privacy through surveillance of digital communication on
a massive, unfocused scale.

“Privacy in a Digital Age,” will be presented in the Community Room of the Evanston Public Library, 1703 Orrington Ave., from 7 to 9 p.m., March 5.

Speakers will be Kathryn Callaghan and Jeremy Staum from Restore the Fourth Chicago, one of many organizations working to end all unconstitutional surveillance of digital communications. They will remind attendees that the Fourth Amendment to
the Constitution protects citizens against unreasonable searches and seizures.

When the Constitution was written this applied to paper correspondence and unlawful invasions of houses; now technology presents challenges to privacy of phone and internet activity.

Cameras with facial recognition software can be located throughout the community, and our movements can be tracked and recorded. Technology has created a new ability to observe and monitor individual activity that requires new protections from government overreach.

Government spying on American citizens has expanded since 9/11.

The U.S.A. Patriot Act and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act authorized the National Security Agency to record the communications, phone calls and email messages of any American citizen, as long as they did not target specific persons.

The Washington Post has revealed that nine major Internet companies have opened their servers to government surveillance, including Google, Facebook, Apple and others. Members of Congress, editorial writers and many organizations have spoken out against this violation of the right to privacy.

Illinois State Senator Daniel Biss has been a leader in raising awareness of this issue among the public and in the state legislature. He played a key role in recent legislation restricting police from using GPS data and has also worked to regulate the domestic use of drones.

Everyone should understand the extent to which privacy is threatened and the right that have citizens to preserve their privacy. This program will describe the current challenges to the constitutional right to privacy, the government’s legitimate need to investigate crimes and terrorism and approaches to balancing these competing pressures.

Evanstonians are welcome to attend the program and join the discussion of this important topic. Further questions about the program can be directed to Betty
Hayford at ehayford@gmail.com.