It's worth noting here that the Restore the Fourth movement is fundamentally about media: our right to use various forms of it -- from email to social media and beyond -- without our government having the essentially unlimited, largely unchecked ability to spy on our use of that media.
Here's a basic summary of what Restore the Fourth is and what its organizers are trying to achieve:
Restore the Fourth is a grassroots, non-partisan, non-violent movement that seeks to organize and assemble nationwide protests on July 4th, 2013. Protesters in over 100 cities across America will gather to demand that the government of the United States of America adhere to its constitutionally dictated limits and respect the Fourth Amendment. RestoretheFourth.net provides a detailed list of protest locations.
More details are available in the organization's FAQ.
By the way, if you haven't looked at the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution since high school history class (I'm pretty sure I hadn't), here it is in full:
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
In 2013, your personhood, so to speak, exists, to a large extent, online, and your "houses, papers, and effects" are also, of course, deeply weaved into the "cloud" of the internet. Given what we've all recently learned about the National Security Agency's surveillance programs, it's clear that our collective "houses, papers, and effects" are constantly and systematically being searched and seized.
Why? To protect us from terrorists, we're told.
Simon Dumenco is the "Media Guy" media columnist for Advertising Age. Follow him on Twitter @simondumenco.