In January of last year, digital rights advocate, Aaron Swartz who founded Digital Progress which launched the campaign against the Internet censorship bills (SOPA/PIPA), took his own life. The EFF and digital rights movement around the world vowed to defend the rights of Internet users everywhere in his memory.
In its advisory, EFF said, the SOPA and PIPA protests were successful because we all took part, as a community. As Aaron put it, everybody “made themselves the hero of their own story.”
“Today we face a different threat, one that undermines the Internet, and the notion that any of us live in a genuinely free society: mass surveillance.”
The global internet action on February 11 targets the mass surveillance by the NSA.
“The Snowden revelations have provided us with disturbing details and confirmation of some of our worst fears about NSA spying. The NSA is undermining basic encryption standards, the very backbone of the Internet. It has collected the phone records of hundreds of millions of people not suspected of any crime. It has swept up the electronic communications of millions of people indiscriminately, exploiting the digital technologies we use to connect and inform.”
“But we aren’t going to let the NSA ruin the Internet. Inspired by the memory of Aaron, fueled by our victory against SOPA, EFF is joining forces with a coalition of liberty-defending organizations to fight back against NSA spying,” the EFF said.
NSA and Snowden
The NSA’s domestic spying program, known as the “President’s Surveillance Program,” (“The Program”) was implemented by U.S. President George W. Bush shortly after the attacks on September 11, 2001.
The 30-year old whistleblower is on exile in Russia despite suggestions from ranking U.S. officials, including U.S. President Barack Obama that he return to the United States to face trial for leaking information about the NSA.
“Returning to the US, I think, is the best resolution for the government, the public, and myself, but it’s unfortunately not possible in the face of current whistleblower protection laws, which through a failure in law did not cover national security contractors like myself,” Snowden said. He added, “there’s no chance to have a fair trial, and no way I can come home and make my case to a jury.”
Snowden recently took to the web for a chat on a WikiLeaks-affiliated website to raise money for his legal defense. He said he has “no regrets” about his actions. “Doing the right thing means having no regrets,” he said.
Call to action
In the U.S, thousands of websites will host banners urging people to call/email the U.S. Congress. People outside the will can demand their legislators to enact privacy protections for internet users.
Last week, Obama spoke seeking to calm a furor over U.S. surveillance. He called for ending the government’s control of phone data from hundreds of millions of Americans and immediately ordered intelligence agencies to get a secretive court’s permission before accessing the records.
The information and views set out in this post are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official opinion of Blog Watch. Responsibility for the information and views expressed here lies entirely with the author(s).