Online Protests Against the NSA Take Shape Today
Anger at the United States Government and the NSA’s surveillance practices hasn’t diminished much since former contractor Edward Snowden leaked documents last summer. Today, over 5,000 companies and organizations like Mozilla, Reddit, Tumblr, the ACLU and the Electronic Frontier Foundation, to name a few, have joined together today for what’s being called “The Day We Fight Back.”
The main component of the demonstration involves protestors calling and writing their federal representatives in Washington D.C. to throw support behind stronger legislation against the NSA’s widespread surveillance powers and practices. According to the protest’s site, Congress is weighing a bill that might do just that: the USA Freedom Act, which would bring “new levels of transparency to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance [FISA] Court,” create the position of “a special advocate to champion civil liberties in the FISA court,” and “to create new statutory limits on mass surveillance by the NSA.” Moreover, the movement’s website says that the bill doesn’t yet go far enough to stop the NSA from overstepping its bounds when it comes to the security and privacy of American citizens.
Meanwhile, the site also points to the FISA Improvements Act, which would explicitly legalize the collection of bulk telephone metadata that has been ruled on in both directions by two different courts at the state level—one decrying it, one upholding it. “The Day We Fight Back” would like protestors to let their representatives know that the FISA Improvements Act is not the way to improve the NSA.
Obviously it’s far too soon to say whether or not the movement is having an effect, but if Twitter is to be believed, there sure are plenty of calls being made. Said Trevor Timm, executive director of the Freedom of the Press Foundation:
Wow. 5,000 people an hour are calling into Congress to demand NSA reform. Join them here, we’ve made it really easy: http://t.co/aUciLxNO8F
— Trevor Timm (@trevortimm) February 11, 2014
The page also rightly points out that SOPA and PIPA were two great examples of a movement birthed on the Internet as having an effect against legislation that would make it more difficult for people to enjoy and use the web. Those bills were defeated after congressional representatives got enough calls and messages from their constituents, so it stands to reason that this initiative has the same chance of success.
Will you be calling your senator today?