To commemorate the one-year anniversary of Edward Snowden’s first leak of NSA documents, a coalition of Internet companies, nonprofits and advocacy groups will launch an anti-surveillance protest Thursday dubbed “Reset the Net.” While previous Internet protests focused on collecting petition signatures and calling Congress, Reset the Net aims to give websites, software developers and everyday Internet users some actionable tools to protect privacy online.
The campaign acknowledges that it’s not possible to completely stop government surveillance but argues that making these security features the industry standard would hinder the types of mass data-collection practices that whistleblower Snowden brought to light.
Reddit, Imgur, BoingBoing, DuckDuckGo and hundreds of others will work with groups like Amnesty International, Greenpeace and MoveOn.org to promote a “privacy pack” of free software that make Web browsing, chat, text messaging, voice calls and email more secure on both computers and mobile devices. Reddit, Imgur and DuckDuckGo have all agreed to run free ads that promote these privacy tools, while BoingBoing and iFixIt have agreed to add SSL to their websites.
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Reset the Net also urges websites and developers to implement security features like HTTPS and forward secrecy into their products.
“Surveillance affects everyone, in the United States and internationally,” Nadia Kayyali, an activist from the Electronic Frontier Foundation, said in a blog post. The EFF has been at the forefront of the legal battle against the National Security Administration and will participate in the June 5 protest. “In addition to this collect-it-all strategy, the NSA has used tactics such as deploying malware, trying to weaken encryption, and other sophisticated techniques that make the Internet less secure.”
“The Internet is a powerful force that can promote democracy, innovation, and creativity, but it’s being subverted as a tool for government spying.”
As for the man being celebrated in the protest, Snowden continues to hide in Russia, where he was offered asylum. Snowden fears the U.S. would label him as a terrorist if he attempted to return, and said he would consider moving to Brazil if the country offered him asylum.