States Step Up Efforts to Stymie NSA Surveillance

By:  Joe Wolverton, II, J.D.
States Step Up Efforts to Stymie NSA Surveillance

In another indication that the mainstream media are noticing the nullification movement, the Associated Press reported on various state efforts to thwart the NSA's dragnet collection of data.

Ironically, as many conservatives have given up hope on nullification as a way to fight back against federal overreach, several national news stories are highlighting those very state efforts.

For example, in a big story for February 5, the Associated Press reports, “State lawmakers around the nation are proposing bills to curtail the powers of law enforcement to monitor and track citizens.”

The message from these states to Capitol Hill, the story says, is “if you don't take action to strengthen privacy, we will.”

AP reports that 14 states are currently considering surveillance-nullifying bills, a figure also reported by the Tenth Amendment Center.

Focusing on the efforts in Missouri, AP quotes Missouri state Senator Rob Schaaf on the urgent need to shore up the protections of civil liberties. "We need to stand up and protect our liberty," Senator Schaaf said.

On January 8, Schaaf introduced SJR 27, which declares:

That the people shall be secure in their persons, papers, homes [and], effects, and electronic communications and data, from unreasonable searches and seizures; and no warrant to search any place, or seize any person or thing, or access electronic data or communication, shall issue without describing the place to be searched, or the person or thing to be seized, or the data or communication to be accessed, as nearly as may be; nor without probable cause, supported by written oath or affirmation.

The OffNow Coalition, the country’s leader in promoting state-based solutions to the problem of dragnet NSA surveillance, identifies the benefit of the Missouri bill:

The effect of this resolution would be significant. The addition of electronic communications to the list of privacy items would make emails, phone records, Internet records and other electronic information gathered without a warrant inadmissible in state court. That would include data gathered illegally by overzealous state and local law enforcement as well as the federal government.

Shane Trejo, the national campaign leader for OffNow, focused his remarks on the bill’s effect on the sharing of unconstitutionally obtained data. 

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