These 7 Democrats Sent Staffers and Interns to an Anti-NSA “Party”

<a href="http://www.thinkstockphotos.com/image/stock-photo-safety-concept-opened-padlock-on-digital/466487479/popup?sq=encryption/f=CPIHVX/s=DynamicRank">maxkabakov</a>/Thinkstock

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.


On Monday, seven members of Congress, all Democrats, sent representatives, either staffers or interns, to attend a Capitol Hill “cryptoparty,” where they learned how to defend their online communications from the NSA and other snoops. The party was sponsored by Reps. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.) and Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), two vocal NSA critics.

There were about 25 people in attendance, according to Jamila Brown, a spokesperson for Access, an internet freedom group co-hosting the event. She says that representatives for Lofgren and Grayson were there, along with representatives of Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) and Reps. John Conyers (D-Mich.), Elizabeth Esty (D-Conn.), Bruce Braley (D-Iowa), and Brad Sherman (D-Calif.). 

Cryptoparties are part of an international grassroots movement to spread encryption, including information about the Tor network, which allows users to engage in anonymous web browsing. (Former contractor Edward Snowden led a cryptoparty in Hawaii in 2012, months before he leaked information about NSA surveillance.) At this event, Karen Reilly, the development director of the Tor Project, led a session, and others presented information on how to encrypt chats and protect mobile devices from surveillance.

Amie Stepanovich, senior policy counsel at Access, says that there there were several questions raised at the meeting about the extent of NSA surveillance and how to defeat NSA spying. Attendees were concerned, she adds, about how NSA activities “impacted each of them and their communications.”

Last week, the House unexpectedly approved a proposal sponsored by Lofgren and other members that would bar the NSA from searching emails, chats, and other communications of Americans without a warrant. The amendment also prohibits the NSA from undermining encryption on the web.

Update: This post has been updated to reflect comment from Access that the office representatives included either staffers or interns.

 

 

DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America will move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America will move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate