Soon we will probably see the peak in public shock and alarm
• towards the NSA’s and its contractors’ secrecy, unaccountability and actual and potential abuses, and
• towards the timidity and/or complicity of most players whose job is to provide checks and balances.
After that peak, a re-emergence of business as usual will eventually give momentum back to those forces that want (and who will spend much money and incite much fear and hatred) to re-enable and entrench them even more deeply.
What can be done to:
• maximize quick improvements in laws,
• extend the peak into a longer plateau, and
• resist retrenchment?
California and Washington States, besides being the home of many leading online and information technology companies, also each have a public referendum process, which seem to provide a channel that may be the most effective way to combine the following goals:
• educate the public,
• register voters,
• sustain their attention & mobilization,
• put pressure on their own state legislatures,
• thereby put pressure on other state legislatures & on the US Congress,
• put indirect pressure on the President & presidential candidates,
• work directly towards the type of Constitutional Amendment that would go over the heads of the Roberts Five and all future (and past) Supreme Court majorities.
Many of these goals might be best pursued by petitioning to put on the ballot in California and Washington (and later in other states) a referendum that both amends the State Constitution and seeks to create moral and legal pressure on officeholders to get on board a bandwagon to amend the US Constitution.
Over the jump is a short summary draft showing ways that we might structure its text. Comments on the text and the general approach are welcome from Constitutional lawyers, wannabees, rabble-rousers, VSPs, personnel of online and information technology companies, and everybody else.
(already a bit legalistic, no doubt needing to become even more legalistic before petitions are printed up)
The following new section shall be added to the [California/Washington] State Constitution:
1. Any State Senator or Assemblyperson who fails to vote in favor of a properly presented bill that contains, and is limited to, the matters set out in amendments 2 through 6 shall be deemed ineligible to serve as a State Senator or Assemblyperson for a period of four years from the date of such failure.
2. The State of [California/Washington] shall apply to the United States Congress to call a Constitutional Convention for the purpose of proposing the following amendments 4 through 6 to the United States Constitution.
3. The following amendments 4 through 6 are hereby made to [California/Washington] State Constitution, each to be effective to the fullest extent that is consistent with the United States Constitution as interpreted or amended from time to time.
4. Every natural person shall have a right of privacy, which includes a right NOT to have information,
which identifies (in a form that enables disaggregation) such natural person’s
political, religious or moral beliefs,
nonviolent activities or intentions, or
communications about any of the foregoing,
be recorded, retained, analyzed or disclosed to a third person
by any governmental or non-governmental entity or individual.
5. It shall be a criminal violation for any governmental or non-governmental entity or natural or legal person to breach any of the foregoing rights.
6. Any person who has a good faith belief that any of his or her rights in any of the foregoing sections have been or our threatened to be breached shall be entitled
to file a criminal complaint,
to recover compensatory and punitive damages for past breaches,
to obtain a court order against future breaches, and
to recover all direct and indirect costs of filing and pursuing such complaint, recovery and order.