#TakeCTRL: American grassroots campaign calls for more data privacy

Thousands of Americans have joined a new campaign calling for greater protection for personal data.

The US has traditionally lagged behind Europe in the importance it places on securing personal data – hence the recent Safe Harbor ruling – but now a campaign to boost privacy protection in 16 states and the nation’s capital is gaining mass support.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is co-ordinating the campaign, which aims to pressure federal lawmakers into action, and which has so far seen thousands sign a petition calling for action, as well as take to Twitter under the #TakeCTRL hashtag.

ACLU said in a statement: “Every day, your personal data gets swept up – by location trackers, email and social media apps, and the devices and third party software that you use at school, work, or home.

“And right now there are too few legal limits protecting you from how your data gets used. Your highly sensitive personal data is up for grabs. The government has too much access to it and corporations make billions mining it.

That’s why people around the country are standing up to #TakeCTRL of their data. A bipartisan coalition of legislators in sixteen states and the District of Columbia simultaneously announced legislation to boost privacy protections for students and employees, stop warrantless invasions of your emails and text messages, and safeguard you against location tracking.

“If we can mobilize support for new and effective legislation state-by-state, we can spur a domino effect to create standards across the country.”

The campaign has already received messages of support from prominent privacy activists, including NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, Anonymous and Alvaro Bedoya, former chief counsel to the Senate subcommittee on privacy.

Many supporters have also posted pictures of themselves on social media holding a poster of the campaign’s main slogan – you have the right to remain private – a reference to the Miranda warning covering the right to remain silent during police questioning.

The bills planned vary from state to state, but fall into ten broad categories all aimed at securing personal communications. More detail and a state-by-state map here.

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