Almost two dozen tech companies and civil liberties advocates are trying to unite the Internet against National Security Agency-style bulk surveillance with a new campaign designed to “Reset the Net.”
Internet liberty nonprofit Fight for the Future is organizing the companies, which include the likes of Reddit, Imgur, DuckDuckGo, Free Software Foundation, CREDO Mobile and others, and is planning a day of action on June 5 called Reset the Net.
Exactly one year after the first Snowden-leaked NSA story revealed the bulk Internet surveillance PRISM program, the Web community is encouraged to take some form of action to secure the Internet against mass surveillance.
“We use the Internet to be ourselves, but governments are building a prison around it,” the Reset the Net promotional video states. “We have to stop them, but how? They seem so vast and powerful.”
“But government spies have a weakness – they can hack anybody, but they can’t hack everybody,” the video explains. “Folks like the NSA depend on collecting insecure data from tapped fiber. They depend on our mistakes, mistakes we can fix.”
Specifically the campaign is calling on developers to add new web-based security and encryption features to websites and apps designed to thwart the NSA’s attempts to intercept data in transmission — one of the primary methods the agency employs to conduct bulk surveillance.
They’re also encouraging users to post the Reset the Net splash screen to their blogs and social media accounts on June 5, and are making available a free downloadable privacy packet of security and privacy focused tools like Adium and Pidgin to encrypt Web chats, Textsecure and Redphone to encrypt texts and phone calls, and GPG to encrypt email.
“A year after Snowden’s shocking revelations, the NSA is still spying on innocent Americans without a warrant,” CREDO Mobile CEO Michael Kieschnick said in a statement about the campaign, Wired reports.
“CREDO will continue to demand Congress and the president take action to stop unconstitutional mass warrantless surveillance, and until we win real reform, we will encourage users to adopt encryption tools to protect their personal communications from government abuse of the First and Fourth Amendment.”
“We are speaking to different people at a lot of these larger platforms,” Fight for the Future Co-Director Tiffiniy Cheng said of the campaign’s attempt to illicit the support of tech giants like Google and Twitter, which supported similar campaigns against Internet copyright reform in 2012.
“A lot of companies have either made some public statement or have taken on security practices that would move us towards making mass surveillance very difficult to conduct, so they’re headed in the right direction,” Cheng said.
“We expect that they will come out and support the greater movement to make mass surveillance extremely hard to do…. Because the surveillance is done in so many different ways … there are different ways that you can push back on mass surveillance.”