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Internet Privacy Advocates Take to the Streets and Online for ‘The Day We Fight Back’

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With revelations about the US National Security Agency’s espionage activities now in the public consciousness, a coalition of organizations and some of the top internet companies hope to make Feb. 11 “The Day We Fight Back”. They’re fighting back against unwarranted mass spying and reforms to governmental collection of users’ information not just in the US, but worldwide.

This movement has the support of more than 6,000 websites and groups such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Demand Progress, ACLU, PEN, and Access, as well as companies like Google, Twitter, Mozilla, and reddit. It should be noted that some of the companies in support have a business model based around collecting user data.

The Day We Fight Back is calling on US citizens to tell their member of congress to support and co-sponsor “The USA Freedom Act” (H.R. 3361/S. 1599), which is designed to rein in the bulk collection of American records made possible under the Patriot Act. It’s also calling on its supporters to oppose the proposed “FISA Improvements Act” (S. 1631), which would create a loophole permitting the NSA and perhaps other agencies to search for Americans’ identifying information without a warrant.

Non-US citizens should “Fight Back” by signing their name in support of the International Principles on the Application of Human Rights to Communications Surveillance, a set of 13 principles that codify the human rights obligations for government surveillance to follow. These signatures will be used to pressure governments and international institutions to forbid mass surveillance anywhere in the world.

As part of The Day We Fight Back, several in-person events will be held such as a “cryptoparties” in Bogota, Columbia, Graz, Austria, and various locations in the UK. Protests will be held in San Francisco, Chicago, Bluffdale, Utah, Gainesville, Fla., Lewisville, Texas, Carrollton, Texas, and St. Paul, Minn., as well as cities in Denmark, Puerto Rico, and Sweden.

Many web hosts are also getting involved. For instance, ServInt is donating the first month of hosting revenues from new VPS and dedicated hosting customers how sign up today to the Electronic Frontier Foundation to support their work on internet privacy.

With the potential of losing trust in the free and open internet, the case for privacy is very much a concern for online service providers, whose hosted services could be easily avoided because of privacy concerns. US service providers such as AOL, Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo have already argued for limits on government surveillance for both foreign and domestic users.

Perhaps The Day We Fight Back will help get the public involved in pushing through policies that balance national security needs with the privacy and civil liberties citizens should expect.

About the Author

David Hamilton is a Toronto-based technology journalist who has written for the National Post and other news outlets. He has covered the hosting industry internationally for the Web Host Industry Review with particular attention to innovative hosting solutions and the issues facing the industry. David is a graduate of Queen’s University and the Humber College School of Media Studies.

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