Dozens protest NSA snooping in Philly

 Michael McGrath from Trenton, N.J., participates in a protest against the NSA near  Independence Mall on Thursday. (Meg Frankowski/for NewsWorks)

Michael McGrath from Trenton, N.J., participates in a protest against the NSA near Independence Mall on Thursday. (Meg Frankowski/for NewsWorks)

While the Fourth of July parade processed nearby, opponents of the federal government’s surveillance of Americans’ Internet and phone use rallied against what they called violations of Americans’ privacy rights.

“Restore the Fourth” protesters, who have organized around the country via the online forum site, reddit, after details emerged of the National Security Agency’s PRISM program and seizures of telephone company records.

Nathan Swavely has followed recent news about U.S. government monitoring closely. His concern brought him out to the Philadelphia’s Washington Square Park.

“This is America’s day in a sense. So making our voices heard on this day, it’s probably one of the better days to do it,” said Swavely, as the crowd assembled.

“It’s Fourth Amendment rights on the fourth of July!”  A day of rallies was held around the country, including in Denver, Los Angeles and Washington D.C over data mining from lots of big-name online services as well as screening phone call records.  The protests nationally got support from civil rights and privacy groups and Mozilla, the outfit behind the popular Firefox web browser.

While the crowds in some of those cities were quite large, about 50 showed up for the Philadelphia protest.

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