aNewDomain.net — Our co-founder John C. Dvorak, our international reporter David Michaelis and our political commentator Ted Rall have been wondering aloud here at aNewDomain for months now as to why there hasn’t been a SOPA-PIPA style user protest against the FBI and NSA’s ongoing e-surveillance projects. These projects are collecting billions of pieces of data via national and international email, snail mail, phone calls, web searching, social media use, texting and IMing.
The vocal backlash is happening today, though not in the storm-Washington way our columnists likely imagined. Today, Feb. 11, 2014, is The Day We Fight Back, a protest from officials at 5,300 tech companies, media outlets, human rights and privacy advocacy groups. They are protesting the NSA mass e-surveillance program, PRISM, its secret FISA court and other projects like the FBI-NSA Echelon project. Find more about the protest below the fold — and scroll down to watch a video that explains more.
On The Day We Fight Back site, organizers are asking specifically for netizens to tell Congress to “pass the USA Freedom Act” that would “curtail surveillance abuses” and amend that bill to make it stronger. And it is spreading information about the FISA Improvements Act, “which attempts to legalize bulk data collection of phone records.”
Organizers want Internet users to take real action, as you see in the video below.
Here’s the Stop Watching Us video from The Day We Fight Back’s front page.
NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden in June 2013 unveiled top secret slides that showed how the nation’s biggest tech companies were delivering customer content in the once-top-secret project called NSA PRISM. It’s been running clandestinely since 2009. He has since fled, for fear of his life and liberty, to Moscow.
Thanks to the Snowden revelation, some of the facts the protest site publishes on its front page are, of course, well known and no longer even debated by U.S. law enforcement officials.
But they’re still no-less alarming to privacy watchdogs and human rights advocates. For instance, the site quotes this article in The Washington Post, which reported that:
The NSA is collecting the content and metadata of emails, web activity, chats, social networks, and everything else as part of what it calls ‘upstream’ collection.”
Here’s a screenshot from it’s The Facts site, which lines up other comments, and links to sources.
There’s a call to action, too. The protest asks like-minded netizens to “install banners to encourage their visitors to fight back against surveillance.” It also asks that they engage socially with the movement on the topic today and that they spread the world. Tech company employees should ask their firms to take part, organizers say on the site.
How much steam will this gather? We’ll watch as the hours progress.
For aNewDomain.net, I’m Gina Smith.
Gina Smith is the New York Times best-selling author of Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak’s memoir, iWoz Computer Geek to Cult Icon: How I Invented the Personal Computer and Had Fun Doing It (W.W. Norton, 2005/2007/2012). With John C. Dvorak and Jerry Pournelle, she is the editorial director at aNewDomain.net. Email her at gina@aNewDomain.net, check out her Google + stream here or follow her @ginasmith888.
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