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Anti-surveillance groups seek to use state laws to block NSA

Dec. 4, 2013 at 10:29 AM   |   Comments

BLUFFDALE, Utah, Dec. 4 (UPI) -- An anti-surveillance coalition says it will push state-level bills that would bar local officials from cooperating with the U.S. National Security Agency.

Draft state-level legislation called the Fourth Amendment Protection Act theoretically would bar local governments from providing services -- such as water or other local utilities -- to federal agencies that collect electronic data from Americans without a personalized warrant, U.S. News & World Report reported Tuesday.

The activists are testing the legislation in Utah and several other states, one spokesman said.

So far, one Utah legislator has committed to introducing such a bill that would shut off water to the NSA's data center in Bluffdale, Mike Maharrey of the Tenth Amendment Center, said, while declining to name the lawmaker because the bill hasn't been introduced.

The coalition would like to see its model legislation considered in other states as well, U.S. News & World Report said.

"We are still very early in the campaign, and this is in fact a multistep, multiyear, long-term strategy," said Maharrey, whose Tenth Amendment Center is part of the OffNow coalition along with the Bill of Rights Defense Committee and several other groups.

Maharrey said a Washington state lawmaker also committed to introducing legislation and that lawmakers in five other states have expressed an interest sans commitment.

On the federal level, the USA Freedom Act sponsored by Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., and Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., would curtail the most controversial NSA practices that became public when former NSA contractor Edward Snowden leaked information about the agency's massive monitoring programs.

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