Likely the most impactful thing you can do right now is to add the banner to your own site and ask the companies you work for to do the same. We've tried to make it as easy as possible to add the banner; you can find all the options (including a Cloudflare app and Wordpress plugins) here: https://github.com/tfrce/thedaywefightback.js
Pushing for technical solutions to the surveillance is also really important. Friends at Fight for the Future are launching a campaign along those lines as soon as this one wraps up, and there are a lot of open source projects (e.g. the great work done by [Whisper Systems](https://whispersystems.org)) that deserve attention.
But legislation and technology need to work hand in hand for things to change in the long run. Even if we have decent technical solutions, legal measures can easily limit the scope of their success (see Lavabit).
One crucial piece of information I haven't been able to find is what happens to the names and email addresses people enter. How does filling in those boxes amount to taking action?
I am strongly opposed to mass surveillance, but thedaywefightback.org doesn't seem to be communicating successfully how exactly it is going to help. If it is doing something that will truly help (which seems likely, but I can't really tell), that needs to be clear in its message, and it isn't.
Edit: Changes are up. It's not perfect, but hopefully it addresses some of your concerns.
So they'll be a shorter version of this on the main site soon, but I can spell it out at greater length and more informally here. (I'm EFF's International Director, btw)
The short answer is that you're signing your support for a set of 13 principles on the application of human rights to communications surveillance ( see https://necessaryandproportionate.net/ ), that were worked out last year (pre-Snowden, actually) by a coalition of technologists, privacy activists, and legal scholars.
The long answer: We've been using this language to push the idea in international venues and among key lawmakers in various countries that mass surveillance (as well as a bunch of other practices conducted by the NSA and other spooks, including corruption of crypto standards and backdoors) is a violation of existing human rights standards.
This is important internationally because if the NSA gets away with its current behaviour, it'll establish a norm that such surveillance is okay for any government to conduct. We need to push back against that norm.
To do so, diplomats, policymakers and others need language and arguments to back that up.
The Principles give them that language in a familiar context (and we're working together to provide more detailed arguments and other legal guides). It has found favor among politicians, experts and other influential people I think partly because the smarter ones are genuinely worried that pervasive surveillance really could undermine their own societies -- they recognise what it could do in the wrong hands as much as anyone else.
In providing that leverage, it helps to convey that it's not just a bunch of domain experts that think forbidding mass surveillance is a bad idea, but that an increasingly large number of citizens find it abhorrent. That's what the signatures will do. It really makes a difference in this arena, because so few obscure technical documents have hundreds of thousands of supporters :)
I'd encourage anyone who wants to understand better how we're trying to get all governments, not just the US, to craft better surveillance legislation to read the full text of the principles at https://necessaryandproportionate.net/text You can also ask me questions at firstname.lastname@example.org . It's a long haul project, and we're conducting it alongside legal actions in the US and abroad, shoring up and disseminating crypto tools, and other non-policy defences. But it's pretty amazing to get unanimity with hundreds of privacy groups on some basic principles with which to start building proper, 21st century, surveillance law.
1. Legality - privacy restrictions must be prescribed by law.
2. Legitimate Aim - What you want to break privacy for must be to support laws.
3. Necessity: We cannot (reasonably) achieve the aim without breaching privacy.
4. Adequacy: Listening to your phone calls must reasonably allow us to achieve the aim.
5. Proportionality: Don't listen to everyone when only some will do.
6. Competent Judicial Authority: Any breach of privacy must be authorised by Independant, capable judges.
7. Due process: Who follow a clear process
8. User notification: and tell you you are being watched (unless that might hurt the Aim)
9. Transparency: We get to see the metadata on their phone tapping
10. Public oversight: and a few of us get to see everything not just the metadata
11. Integrity of communications and systems: backdoors are not allowed, if you are bugging us legally, you dont need a back door
12: Safeguards for international cooperation: No playing arbitrage with different jurisdictions
13: Safeguards against illegitimate access: and secure your stuff.
I hope those help
But my question is, with the publication/confirmation yesterday of the basis of the US drone assassination program in NSA cellphone spying (see https://firstlook.org/theintercept/article/2014/02/10/the-ns...), will you be incorporating a demand to reign in the NSA because their surveillance is killing innocent people? I think it is a real opportunity to reach out to many other groups and individuals who are opposed to and organizing against the drones both in the US and abroad.
Yesterday, I was this close to putting my name+email there, until I thought "wait, what am I even signing for, either this might actually accomplish something important and I really should know what exactly before I can honestly give my support, or it's a rather meaningless gesture carrying just a vague anti-surveillance sentiment" (given the names and people involved I was pretty sure it was the former, but not knowing what I'd feel disingenuous about just adding my name to a list "just, make it better, or something").
Knowing this now, I signed it right away.
On the technical front if you're a software engineer you can spend some of your time helping to develop, test and debug the various encrypted communication systems. Often security audits are needed. If you're not a software engineer then find out how to use encryption tools - PGP, XMPP/OTR, Tor, Bitmessage, etc and encourage your friends to use them.
Second there are two tricky bits of the workflow that didn't quite work for me.
1. Feinstein doesn't have a mailbox, and if you wait on hold for more than 2 minutes the line hangs up.
There was no mechanism to have tdwfb "try again later." So now the burden is on me again. (tiny violin)
2. I was connected to two congresspeeps.
Only one is valid, but zip is ambiguous. I suggest that if someone spends time talking to the first rep, then the second shouldn't even be mentioned.
Since you are asking for feedback, I heard this on IRC when I mentioned adding thedaywefightback.js to a site I manage.
<Erkan_Yilmaz> lukeshu did you tell 'em already:
#findTheError "The Day We Fight Back" against mass
surveillance has on its website #twitter and
#facebook offered (only) thedaywefightback.org
When I shared the link with a friend he mentioned he was uncomfortable giving his number and email address. Maybe consider having a link close to those fields to help the visitor find the number or email address of their Representative. That way if someone doesn't want to give out that information there is a quick alternative available.
Why do you feel this is the most impactful thing that [I] can do? Specifically, do you believe that putting a banner on webpages will prompt more phone calls to legislators, which will in turn lead to the reduction of surveillance?
The video is heavy handed (actors and names-the-common-person-would-know with sweeping music) saying that surveillance is bad, but it's never clearly articulated _why_ one should believe that data mining by the government is wrong (besides unqualified claims of it being unconstitutional and against imagined civil liberties).
I personally think that there's risk in allowing a government to harvest and store data indefinitely (primarily because an unscrupulous politique could perform a character assassination to push a narrative), but I'm not the target audience for this advertisement.
That said, fighting an information war against intelligence apparatus is a losing battle. This will only push the program deeper into the classified bowels of the massive US intelligence machine. They are currently operating through classified intelligence and loopholes, and once the FISA court loophole is closed they will find or produce another.
If you suggest voting for an independent... That is sort of a pipedream in the current US election climate. Noble thought and effort to push for such a candidate, but they have little to no chance of actually being electable. And even if they do get elected... Whats to stop them from being totally corrupted, or just overtly ignored by the rest of the government?
You think Obama had a hard time pushing through legislation? Just wait till some independent has to fight both Dems & Repubs on every issue because he/she isn't part of either party (and basically a slap in the face to their power structure.)
Edit: The biggest issue (in my opinion) at this point is the two party system that is entrenched beyond belief.
Entrenched to hopelessness.
Money buys politicians so much power and there is no amount of regulation (which would have to be passed by those in power and getting the money, HA!) that could curtail it. Eventually you are going to step on someone's first amendment right to "say" (buy ads upon ads upon ads) what they want for/against another candidate.
I think the only way I can hope for actual change is for more people to get involved and not be so easily swayed by various types of media. But the majority is lazy..
And the funny thing is - just like probably most of the congress people - our representative isn't really all that bad. She's just not really good. She's just a nice old lady that's a vanilla career democrat. The chances she'll be voted out are effectively zero.
So I just don't vote for people any more (i leave it blank). However, I still go to the polls to do the ballot initiatives
I'd recommend addressing the actual problem, which the all-encompassing surveillance is a symptom of. The actual problem is that there is a government in place. For more information, look up Stefan Molyneux, Larken Rose, Michael Huemer, Murray Rothbard, David Friedman, etc.
As a very simple example, why are laws like SOPA and CISPA passed in secret, unless there's a massive uprising against them? Obviously, they're passed in secret, or stealthily, or all of a sudden - they're just rammed through exactly because they know the people would be against these laws if they only fucking KNEW ABOUT THEM.
Did you think defeating SOPA would be meaningful in the grand scheme of things? If they're passing one law that's harmful to the masses and against their will, why wouldn't they pass another? .. and another, and another?
Well, if they're passing harmful and unnecessary laws all the fucking time, do you think they just might not be on your side? I mean, how difficult is it to figure out that "your" representatives don't actually represent you? They're constantly passing laws that are against your will, after all. Oh, and they're extorting you too! (It's called "taxation" to make it more palatable)
Now then, since it's obvious that the government and its legislators are not on your side - contrary to what people commonly believe, strangely enough - doesn't it make you wonder whether having a government is a good idea in the first place?
Did you even read what I wrote? But I get it. It's difficult to process this information.
> No one should take you seriously
Don't just take my word for it. Go investigate the collective works of the people I listed above. If you do that, you'll agree with me (unless you've been severely traumatized as a child).
> I don't see what espousing that ideology is going to get you.
Me? -Possibly nothing. But it's good if I can help ordinary people everywhere avoid whatever seriously unpleasant fate awaits us all if we don't wake up in time. People not being subjected to coercion is not much of an ideology by the way.
But for example, why would other people let Mike pollute the water despite everyone else having signed the "Filter Pact"? Mike's selfish actions would directly affect other people making a living, and therefore, some kind of intervention would be warranted - and would happen too! After that, everything is fine again.
Even if you're silly enough to argue against your own freedom, you can't just leave things at presenting a problem, expecting it would not get solved, and thinking you've proven that freedom "doesn't work".
It's not up to us. All we can do is decide what structure the government will take.
Wow. At least you're being original :p
> All we can do is decide what structure the government will take.
Actually, as long as we have rulers, we can't even do that. You may be aware of the US quickly turning into a nasty police state. Do you think the people being "governed" had a say in that?
The only possible solution is to have no rulers.
In the last century the Chinese and Russians collectively agreed to give up concepts of property and privilege for the betterment of all. Except, some of them only pretended to do that. So they ended up with everyone else's property and privilege.
It's not hard to convince every single person that they should not be ruled. It's impossible to convince every single person that they should not rule. There's always someone who thinks they could do it better if they were in charge.
I can't edit that comment any more (time expired), but the correct link is https://whispersystems.org
"Right idea; wrong methods. Let me explain.
An email to your legislators may result in a form letter response and a phone call to the office may amount to a tally mark on an administrative assistant's notepad.
But, if you want to get their attention, a letter to the editor published in one of your state's 5-10 biggest newspapers that mentions them specifically BY NAME is the way to go.
That is the crucial thing to know--the rest of this comment is an explanation of why I know this is true.
I know this because, when I interned in the D.C. office of a senator one summer, one of the duties I shared was preparing a document that was distributed internally both online and in paper format. This document was made every day and comprised world news articles, national news, state news, and any letters to the editor in the 5-10 largest newspapers within the senator's home state that mentioned him by name. I was often the person who put that document on his desk, and it was the first thing he read every morning after arriving to the office.
I began to suspect that this was standard operating procedure because several other senators' offices share the same printer in the basement of the Russell Senate Office building, and I saw other interns doing the exact same procedures that I was involved in.
Since the internship, I've conferred with other Senate and House employees past and present and determined that most--if not all--offices use essentially the same procedure.
I don't mean to suggest that calling or emailing your legislators is worthless. It isn't--it's just not the most effective route to getting their attention. However, if you don't have the time to writer a letter to the editor, please consider at least calling or emailing them. In fact, there's no reason why you couldn't use multiple tactics by calling them, emailing them, and writing a letter to the editor.
If you would like to go the call or email route, tools to help with that can be found at https://thedaywefightback.org/"
Resolve to push for encryption if there is any PII data in an app that you work with especially if it is a e-mail/mobile/social app. at scale
Refuse to work with/at NSA until their policies change
Refuse to participate in any committee/standards body, conferences, with NSA employees (or their cohort companies who have willingly forsaken the public's interests)
Encourage non-tech folks to adopt stronger privacy practices
When the NSA demands your data, you're not really entering a business partnership.
>Refuse to participate in any committee/standards body, conferences, with NSA employees (or their cohort companies who have willingly forsaken the public's interests)
That said, if you're part a committee or a standards body and you have opinions, the only way that you'll get your changes in place is if you show up.
True, but I saw the original comment as relating more to recruiting. The NSA works just as hard as any tech company to compete for skilled employees.
If you're the kind of person they want to hire, you have lots of fantastic other choices. So choose something else. Unless you're planning to pull a Snowden (and have gonads of steel).
And if you do decide to help code the surveillance state, the rest of us may take that into consideration in future hiring, buying, and investing decisions.
I am the kind of person they'd want to hire and what has kept me from applying is the relative low pay and not being in my area. As an engineer, you'd get access to cool tech in an interesting domain.
>And if you do decide to help code the surveillance state, the rest of us may take that into consideration in future hiring, buying, and investing decisions.
Really? Because you don't use Amazon, Microsoft, Google? You wouldn't hire a qualified candidate if she had worked at the NSA?
Because every employee working for the NSA is doing a-thing-that-you-don't-like(tm) and not something different or important. I wouldn't want to work for someone that simplifies complex issues anyway.
Don't agree with this. Boycotts relying on cooperation and trust between unorganized members are doomed to fail and only hurts those that take part in such boycott.
Why not focus on a very limited number of simple to understand technical goals. For example, you could advocate the creation of private encrypted tunnels between large corporate networks. So that all traffic is routed by default over a VPN if such a route exists. This lets encryption be a compliance issue for an IT department rather than a user level app problem.
It's not ideal, of course, but in the short term since there seems to be no political appetite for relinquishment or meaningful reform then technical mitigation strategies - if they can be sufficiently popularised - may help to reduce the harm resulting from mass surveillance.
Ultimately the solution is both political and technical. When politicians or other public figures make claims that what's going on is "not mass surveillance" or try to imply that collecting metadata is unimportant then they should be challenged.
* don't use md5 as a security feature! I suggest to replace the use of md5sum with sha256sum (not even sha1sum is really safe anymore). The only use of seeing md5 in security contexts is to indicate that the person recommending its use doesn't understand security, which may admittedly be a worthwhile feature in itself. Perhaps you're really saying "this is one of the weak links in our security chain, the source code we're getting here might be hijacked or have huge security holes, and I haven't checked the sources, so it doesn't matter much anyway whether you're using the same sources as me anyway"? Then perhaps point this out, like using sha256sum and at the same time mention "(although I haven't verified the source code against security issues or backdoor (yet?))".
* I'm not a cryptologist, but regarding "the security of encryption depends upon how random the pseudo-random number generation on your system.." I think that's the wrong use of the term "pseudo-random number", as /dev/random really is about randomness, not pseudo-random numbers at all. /dev/urandom does stretch the collected entropy using pseudo-random number generation, but I think even the phrase "how random the pseudo-random generation" is mathematical nonsense, as it's not random at all, just random-looking when not knowing the generator inputs. Perhaps say "The security of encryption depends upon the randomness of the random source used on your system"?
(* I think the NSA is able to track you anyway, regardless of whether you're using your own server on the same IP or not. Thus the suggestion "make you more vulnerable to traffic analysis" will probably only hold for companies trying to track you.)
Although there are some systems where I'm familiar with the code - such as Bitmessage - in most cases I havn't personally checked the code myself. Ideally Freedombone would be a pure blend (I think that's also the aim of FreedomBox), but for now it does involve downloading some non-packaged systems.
That makes it sound like you're thinking that the chances for a conflict (same hash value) depend just on the size of the hash value. But it's worse than that, thanks to algorithmic insights, inputs that produce the same hash value can be found more cheaply than just by chance. Also, they can be found so cheaply that it's computationally trivial to do even for an individual . Thus anyone who can change what data you receive, can trivially also make it hash to the same MD5. (I haven't checked whether publicly available software exists to generate conflicting files that are also, for example, valid gzip files, but I surely expect that an entity like the NSA (and perhaps blackhats, too) can create such software on their own.)
 "produce a collision for two inputs with specified prefixes within hours, using off-the-shelf computing hardware": https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Md5#Security
Yes, there are many sites that still tell users to check MD5 hashes. I think it's evident that those are totally worthless for some years now. Worse, it may be giving some people a false sense of security. OTOH those places might give those who do know a hint that perhaps the authors or distributors don't know about security. (Sorry for the harsh words...)
That is indeed a limitation. I'd suggest you explain what md5sum is, how to use it, and what its limitations are -- specifically that collisions are now trivial to instrument.
Developers / vendors still relying on md5sum really should be named and shamed these days.
Presentation and clear readability is certainly an important factor.
How up to date are the instructions?
I think anyone who knows enough to add a banner to a webpage can work their way through the document.
It's a good idea to promote it as an alternative because from the outside at least, it seems freedombox has lost momentum since the privoxy release, even though the idea is sound.
Until such time as FreedomBox or maybe ArkOS are in a more developed condition this is about the best I can manage.
I had to look up Friendica and Movim to see what they were (I'd never heard of them before), it'd be nice to have links to the respective homepages, so off I'll go and add them in.
I happen to use Emacs and the source for the site is an org-mode document, which makes editing it very easy. Exporting it as HTML is a few key presses.
... it's just a set of styles I slap on blank pages myself.
Consider it GPL v2 or better, BSD / MIT licensed, though honestly, I couldn't care less how it's used or by whom.
Not the final elections - by then the incumbents are in place and it's too late ... for national office, incumbents resign / die more often than they're beat by an opponent.
Primaries are where the action is, for two reasons:
* it's the one time an incumbent is most vulnerable
* very few people vote in primaries compared to election time, so each person's vote makes a bigger difference
Want change in D.C.? If you primary just 10% of the critters there, you'll get their full, undivided attention.
Yes, emails, letters, and phone calls have an effect. So does K Street. Politicians care about their re-election and money / resources to make it happen, so in the game of influence, I (a normal taxpayer with neither the desire nor the ability to bribe them) will always have the disadvantage. That's why I'd rather fight outside their game - in the primary race.
Yes, these links are from a tea partier perspective, but guess what? The tools they describe work for everybody just the same.
One of the organizations in this space; there are others out there.
Leo Linbeck describes the general strategy and how it can work.
The Tea Party began by running primary challengers to GOP incumbents, and they remain a powerful force today. It turns out that politicians listen when their friends lose their jobs.
It's not yet clear whether R and D primary voters care enough about NSA surveillance to vote out incumbents on those grounds alone. (What about abortion? Environment? The need for higher or lower taxes? Gay rights? Firearms? Etc.)
I suspect that NSA revulsion among R and D primary voters is insufficiently strong to make displacement a real threat. Look at SOPA author Lamar Smith's easy cruise to primary reelection victory in Texas hill country -- after being feted by those SOPA-loving liberals in Hollywood and opposed by Reddit's TestPAC. Smith won nearly 80% of the primary vote. BTW, Feinstein, one of the most prominent NSA loyalists, isn't up until 2018.
If anti-NSA activists really want to have a tremendous political impact, they should unseat Rep. Mike Rogers, who beats out even Feinstein in his defense of warrantless surveillance. But National Journal last year said Rogers is in a "safe congressional district that’s poised to keep reelecting him until he decides to retire":
So good luck with that.
"In June 2008 Boxer spoke in the Senate in opposition to the FISA Amendments Act of 2008, a pending bill in the United States Congress to amend the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, and later broke with her counterpart Sen. Dianne Feinstein and voted against it."
For those in the US, though, please do call your representatives.
* It's clearly going to take more than a day to achieve a positive outcome in a system that was established over many decades
* What happens when "the day" ends?
* Since the action is framed as "the day", this is how the media will report on it - including
outcomes of the day. These outcomes, whatever they are, will be packaged with the day and thus more easily dismissed than, say, "the movement" (which continues to grow) or "the tide" (that is turning) or "the big cleanup" (which must be repeated regularly)
If something like this took place once a year (where sites protest mass surveillance) it would assure that people continue to discuss the issue instead of slowly forgetting about it.
Labeling the effort "The Day We Fight Back" has a certain "shock" value that intrigues people. If instead it were marketed as "let's talk about long-term strategies for dismantling mass-surveillance" support would probably trickle in.
After all, signing a petition or putting a url on your site isn't really "fighting back," it's a protesting.
Getting out a message means bringing as many voices together at the same time. Getting press coverage. Making noise.
Diluting that influence over a longer period of time dilutes the call.
That said: yes, a longer-term call to action would be a damned good thing.
Mass surveillance, if technically possible, is going to happen. Therefore make services where it isn't possible. If that screws with your business model you're part of the problem.
Are they forming a political action committee and hiring professionals? That is boring stodgy stuff but it's the boring stuff that makes up politics and has a good track record of being successful.
As in, you vote for a candidate who is protected by identity politics you will never have a voice. You vote for a politician who adheres to the D or R and your just doing nothing.
Let's just extrapolate this.
Mass surveillance is possible because of the connected style of world we live in. Anything that is created can be corrupted in some fashion by world governments or corporations looking for an advantage. Therefore, we shouldn't do anything, because it's hopeless, or we should make something that is so needlessly complicated that no one will use it.
For Christ's sake, does your sense of superiority feel better now that you've poo-pooed this entire thing? Do you know what makes mass surveillance and government abuse in general quite successful and allows it to keep happening? Apathy and arrogance. Either you're so smart that you see this will always happen, so you can beat it for yourself, but not anyone else; or there is no way to fix it for everyone, so why even try.
You're right, this isn't achievable. UNLESS YOU GET INVOLVED IN THE SYSTEM. Like it or not, dirty or not, the current political system is what we have, and you have to work within it. That means talking to people, calling, writing letters to the editor, donating money, forming local groups, doing all of the old-school things that our representatives respond to. It doesn't mean resigning yourself to defeat before even fighting.
You don't like the way this initiative is running? Then pull your head out of your own ass and get involved in the real world. Take your almighty skills and put them to use for everyone, not just yourself. You're just as much a part of the problem as those other people seek to disrupt.
Sorry. Much rant.
We should move to a model where the end user has a cloud end point in their own jurisdiction which contains all the apps and services they want. Stuff like docker looks a lot like an enabling technology. For example, this means Google shouldn't host gmail, but it should be available as a component for local hosting.
But we should be clear, the problem is not governments (there will always be bad ones every now and again), it's naive companies that believe that if they collect the data it's not going to be stolen from them. I would go so far as to say regulating the companies to prevent this stupidity is more likely to effect actual change than attempting to regulate the government.
We basically need a publicly audited restructuring of our entire communication infrastructure. The problem has grown to such proportions that we now know that we can not trust governing institutions like NIST, or chip manufacturers like Intel for example. What makes matters much worse is that the U.S. government will just keep playing the same card of supposed reforms, while operations will not cease, but instead will do a illusive dance to more black on black policies.
At the same time, public interest in the matter has already massively dwindled due to over saturation in media coverage. While the cointelpro is working hard to dismiss everything as essentials to provide us with a (sense of) security for the global fight of terrorism and crime, apathy will prevail.
Also I'm referring to U.S. policies a lot, since they are the ring leaders and are influencing international policy and operations at the highest level.
But obviously this is a problem across many if not all governments. The nature of intelligence agencies is to gather intelligence by any means. This will never change, never disappear unless we get full transparency on government. Which will never happen due to concerns for national security. And we know where that road will lead to.. ask how Bradly Manning is doing.
So no, I'm a bit too informed, and have become way too cynical to be counting on a revolution any time soon :(
I also think framing it as a one day campaign where the “fighting” involves passive action at the individual level is not a game winning strategy. It is still a great rallying signal though, and its effects have already gone beyond the single day, and for every person too lazy to change their avatar back, they will carry on for a good while longer in some way.
However, the motivation for the average person to even think about engaging such an overwhelming and invisible force as mass surveillance is very close to zero. For those who are willing, involvement seems to be passive (donating to a more capable organization, hitting a like button, resharing links), bursty (waiting for organized events to rally around), or demoralizing (low visibility of opponent, lack of support from uninterested peers or locals, extremely slow and indirect feedback loop for any action).
For these reasons, I hope that a campaign modeled as a constantly running open source game engine emerges, because that is actually just the bare minimum required for victory - to at least continue playing the game as long as your opponent is playing, no matter whether you are winning or losing at the moment.
A game model will at least make undeniably clear that there exists a thing worth playing for (your personal information perhaps), that there are actual opponents who can and will take this thing from you, and the visibility and mechanics needed for you to take action to protect that thing.
But the real danger is with the next battle. I think we are going to see a major showdown over legality of encryption generally within the next few years with a push for legally required back-doors (since it will be harder to guarantee cooperation unofficially and there is almost certain to be a lot of effort into guaranteeing better security). That's the one we should be steeling ourselves for.
So I won't be participating in this "The Day We Fight Back" not because I think it is unimportant but because I think it is too important than to relegate to a day of action.
Many of the people organizing this campaign worked on any number of different campaigns over the last 6 months (Stop Watching Us, Restore the Fourth rallies, a rally in DC, Defund The NSA), so we'd be the last to say that this is the only day you should take action.
Rather, this is a single day for all of us who care about the isuee to rally round and do something to reach a critical mass of action that gets noticed on capitol hill. And also to help educate people who've tuned out of NSA stories by reiterating all the things the NSA is doing to erode privacy.
To be honest, I am jaded enough to wonder how much politics actually matters here. The NSA isn't going to stop spying on us because Congress tells them to. It isn't even clear that Congress knows enough about what is going on to really oversee it. And if they don't, then what? We get some feel-good legislation which purports to solve the situation but really just plants the seeds of the next great abuse. That's exactly what happened with FISA.
The current battleground is not on Capitol Hill. it is in the insistence that we make companies pay for what they are doing with the NSA and insist on the development of secure alternatives.
The next battleground (as we make gains in private industry) will be in Capitol Hill, and believe me, when it comes, we will need business interests to be on our side.
But you're right the battle is much bigger than that.
It's much harder work than writing snarky one liners on some internet forum for nerds whilst you sip your expensive coffee.
This is the day to ask them to stop spying, and to ask our leaders to make them stop spying.
The only vote any of the mass majority has is where we spend our dollars & labors. These kinds of movements make everyone involved feel good and I do not deny this campaign is for a cause the participants feel is just...I agree in principal. However, joining another mineable database feels like doing the same thing that we are talking about curtailing, with the added potential of making participants part of a larger target if anyone threatened decides to go on the offensive. Legislators only listen to the hoi polloi when reading scripts in front of cameras or they are drumming up votes for the next election. Even more pertinent, the corporate environment that exists in the Western world has morphed to influence our every waking moment and would never allow an organized collective get too big or gain too much traction before well-publicized character attacks and disinformation fill the airwaves(or the startup is 'incorporated'). The status quo owns the media(even Reddit), the 'tubez(backbone) & most western governments(lobbying is corruption, whatever the laws have been tailored to say), thus they have the loudest message and currently control all infrastructure in this global society(think 'good ol boy' network rather than conspiracy theory). The antagonists and would-be 'movements' of late are diminishing from the public consciousness faster than other entities can make noticeable ripples: Wikileaks, Occupy Wall Street, Manning, Snowden... This is how group dynamics has worked since the dawn of tribalism. Adding sentience to the equation has potential to improve the human race above limbic compulsions but so far has only worked to increase the polarization to meet the desires of the controlling interests(most powerful? influential? smartest?).
I am sentient and have principals I believe in. These principals require me to make sacrifices sometimes, and that includes how I earn & spend my monies. I walked off a job in October that would have multiplied my income by a factor of 10, problem is they asked me to endanger myself, compromise my principals and break some really well-founded national safety codes, never mind the organizations' 'professed' safety policies. Instead, I'm living hand-to-mouth in a shack making a small fraction of my potential earnings and reading/commenting on HN. C'est la vie, I have made my choices and still sleep really well at night. Of the few dollars I make, I spend them just as judiciously as I earn them. There are unavoidable expenses in a modern society; housing, utilities, food. Other spending may seem crucial, but ultimately distill down to wants or conveniences and I've minimizing or eschewed those, too; ISP, TV signal, formal education. Then, of course, there's the disposable income and all that encompasses. How I earn & spend my money(times a factor of a few billion others), this is what drives the world economy and this is what I determined I can influence to create or realize meaningful change within 'my circle of influence'. I must change myself first in order to change the world. I encourage anyone who reads this to contemplate doing the same. It's the only way to scale up a paradigm change, IMO.
PS: I also exercise my own tools that sometimes sacrifice useability in order to maintain my privacy and spread disinformation to those who believe they value my privacy more than I do; NoScript/AdBlock/Blender/UserAgent Switcher/HTTPS Everywhere/bleachbit/firewall monitoring/On+Offline switch/disposable accounts/disposable emails/old & tired maemo phone, etc... Even after two decades I still smile when a clerk says "Thank you for shopping with us today, Mr. Revell".
Presidents lie. Politicians lie.
Now, if every American refuses to work 1 day, and all head to the NSA's office, datacenter (and actually destroy the thing), that'd really mean taking matters into our own hands (extreme scenario, I know). The NSA knew people wouldn't like this, but they did it anyway, because nobody knew. We will never truly have 100% transparency what the NSA is doing. People can no longer trust them. Period.
You forget the part where the USA is a militarized police state that, unlike (say) the Ukrainian government/police will not hesitate to use lethal force at these people.
Not that it will happen, but if it were to happen, that's what's going to happen.
Remember the police violence excesses with the peaceful Occupy protest? They didn't get friendlier in the mean time. The police did, however, get equipped with more shiny military war toys.
Self-host your email and keep it secure and encrypted
Project Tox, also known as Tox, is a FOSS (Free and Open Source Software) instant messaging application aimed to replace Skype.
Host your own file sync solution
Torproject anonymous surfing
The invisible internet project
GNUnet is a framework for secure peer-to-peer networking
Kali Linux - Linux distribution with security focus
"Why should I care if they read my emails? I'm not important and I don't do anything wrong. If it helps them catch terrorists, who cares?"
Until this question is answered clearly and effectively, nobody except all those splinter groups represented by so many logos will care about this.
This isn't really all that different; it's just your private communications being observed, instead of your private parts.
"As long as [the IRS] is [accused of] targeting [tea partiers], who cares? Besides from what I know they probably aren't."
... then tell them to fill in those blanks with something else. You might also follow it with this line of reasoning:
"And I trust this party who's running things. And I trust the other guys will never be in power again. Because that would be a healthy democracy, and my guys would never overstep their boundaries."
Hopefully the ironies, contradictions, vulnerabilities, and fallacies are so plain little more need be said, and you can then focus on how to address the issue, since it's agreed there's an issue.
To me your quote sounds like a smoker who has been shown evidence of a history of smoking causing cancer but prefers to ignore it and make excuses because its easier then accepting they need to make a change.
This somewhat answers that!
This is a global fight. The perpetrators and the victims are everywhere.
The objective of this is to generate awareness, and it is achieving it's goal.
My mother knows what the NSA is and sees the problem.
The only thing that might get us to a better place is to slowly change awareness and with it, will start the political pressure.
Why one day? a focused campaign will generate much more visibility.
Think of how fast the zeitgeist has changed for civil right to minorities, you'd be surprised, maybe in 10, 15 years privacy might be on it's way to being respected again.
But, indeed, sole laws are not proper security measure. And for some reason I don't see calls for any technical measures to make mass surveillance costly (and strongly believe it's necessary). We have locks and safes for a reason.
If you look at where we are, today, as a nation, how can anyone have hope? We're a nation that finds it more politically convenient to kill people by drones than to close Gitmo. We're a nation that, quite probably, kills people by drones simply because our leader promised to close a prison camp that would have normally taken said people, but can't now because it would be too visible and too much of a political issue to have people arriving to a place that is supposed to be closing. So America invents remote-control murder from the sky. You can't deny that we're a crafty, ingenious people.
Today we know that George Carlin was not cynical enough.
And would it be enough to deter a significant number of people from putting their details in and showing support?
From the website:
Governments worldwide need to know that mass surveillance, like that conducted by the NSA, is always a violation of our inalienable human rights.
Sorry, but the governments of the world already know this. Obama, Merkel, Hollande, Cameron or Putin isn't going to stand up proclaim: "I'm sorry, we didn't know".
It's not that we shouldn't do anything, nor do I have the answer as to what we're suppose to do, but this, "The Day We Fight Back", is pointless. Changing your Twitter icon to green didn't stop the war in Libya, the Internet "Blackout" is already forgotten and just pissed people of, it didn't encouraged anyone to resolve or change anything.
SOPA and PIPA were defeated after several legislators changed their stance, purportedly in response to phone calls surrounding the blackout.
Whenever I see something like this, I think of Inigo Montoya:
Protestor: They're taking away our inalienable rights!
Inigo: You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.
Before we knew the extent of surveillance we saw images like this of Bush:
I never had to go looking for the imagery above during Bush's tenure it was everywhere. Where is it now for the current administration?
1. Start the call by asking if they're cosponsoring of the USA Freedom Act.
2a. If they are not, use the script, it makes sense.
2b. If they are, thank them for their support of this bill. You can also let them know how important these surveillance issues are to you and the extent to which your representative's actions on these matters will affect your behavior at the polls and in donations.
Just a heads up to those planning to call (please do!). I felt kind of silly finding out that the first senator on my list was already a cosponsor after reading through the script, and wanted to save others the minor embarrassment. It should feel good to call your representatives and express your support for such important issues!
That aside, this is a really great campaign. Thank you so much to everyone who put it together and made it happen!!
Senator Robert F. Kennedy, June 6 1966 (South Africa address)
Pissed that the NSA (or insert gov agency here) is running amok? Get involved in your government, vote out the lawmakers who let/made [it] happen, and advocate for and vote in representatives who will invoke the change you want.
Appealing to the public in this manor encourages laziness and while it may be "practical" (as we can't expect everyone to throw themselves into the process) I don't think it's the best long term solution.
Not trying to torpedo this movement but I cringe whenever I see the words "script" when talking about invoking political or societal change.
You are correct, though, that following the DC pattern of "follow this script while calling your congresscritters" is insufficient. This turns privacy advocates/Internet users into just another special interest group -- which is dwarfed by AARP (40+ million members) or the NRA (which managed to defeat congressional efforts at more firearm restrictions last year despite the most favorable climate for gun banning in two decades).
The HN community can do better than mere phone calls. Here are some of my suggestions from 12 years ago:
The point about things like this is that by raising awareness and getting people on board to do concrete action, we move the "collective consciousness" in the direction we'd like to see it go. Imagine if 20 years ago everyone had that attitude about gay and lesbian rights. Imagine if 80 years ago everyone had the same attitude about equal rights for minorities.
You people are jackasses. Just because someone can't dedicate their full time job to fighting this doesn't mean they don't care or are lazy. And even if they did dedicate their full time job to it, what exactly do you suggest they do? The first thing that comes to mind to me is that they should start trying to rally others. Which is, as it turns out, exactly what is being done here.
Heroku | No such app
There is no app configured at that hostname.
Perhaps the app owner has renamed it, or you mistyped the URL.
There's one thing to keep in mind though. I don't think any of us actually hate the NSA (in particular), or your local version. The piece I hate are the policies and their implementation. I'm sure that like all organizations there is some work being done by the NSA/CIA/FBI/KGB.... well maybe KGB was going too far.
I'd love to see links in this thread to the other ways people are supporting the struggle, whether it's blog postings, tumblrs, or something else. In that vein, here's my blog posting:
Raising awareness is definitely part of it too, but it's not the main objective.
The blow to trust has been struck. Operating a data processing or data storage business inside US jurisdiction is now a liability.
It's time to leave.
At the same time... there 54,700 calls made and 114,122 emails sent.
The number of social media shares is almost double the number of people that followed through with the "call to action" here. Why?
If you are publicly passionate about the cause, I think you would do both (social media share + contact legislator). If you were privately passionate about the cause, you would just do the later; contact legislator.
But what is your mindset if you share this via social media, yet don't actually follow through with the call-to-action yourself?
What is going to happen with the script after the campaign?
My personal view: I still don't get why it is bad, #pleasesurveilme --> https://twitter.com/stefek99/status/433307672838819840
Added to our (moderately large) site.
But I wish there was also a link for a more traditional "here are the phone #s of your representatives and a sample script".
With the latter, I could just print out that page and find a private place at work - away from my desk - to make the brief phone call.
It goes like this: let the private companies run wild when it comes to privacy violations, and then gobble up all their data via national security letters, subpoenas, secret taps via NSA tech, and warrants for higher profile stuff and then only if desperate, and that is assuming an adversarial nature between the private sector and the government. In fact the C-levels are often directly approached and goaded into silently and secretly cooperating. (and if they refuse, ala Quest, they get targeted by the system)
Of course there is the matter that it is governments who will take the surveillance information and then act upon it, making them the slightly more evil evil in the room, but that does not negate the issue of private sector mass surveillance that is for sale to the highest bidder.
I've been one of those who has ranted about the dangers of the NSA since the late 90's, and now that it's a mainstream issue, it seems to have taken on a "oh yeah, the NSA is bad! stop that surveillance" kind of hipster social wave that lacks any kind of detailed nuance or explores the origins and destinations of this admittedly huge issue.
Yes, the surveillance is unconstitutional. So have been many of the other activities our American oligarchic powers have been engaged in over the past decade, including the assassination of American citizens without due process.
All of these things point to a much more deeply rooted issue than simply "surveillance", namely, that our fundamental governmental structure is in ruins as a result of a combination of corruption and apathy that has gutted the already precariously positioned checks and balances system.
Russ Tice has said he held in his hand the wiretap papers for a then hopeful senator from IL, who happens to now be in the Whitehouse. Are we really so naive as to think that Obama is clean coming from such a notoriously corrupt political arena? The intelligence agencies have been using the same techniques for ages, namely, bribery and threats. Russ Tice has also said he held in his hands the papers for judges who now sit on the SCOTUS, and FBI whistleblower Sibel Edmonds has a source who was responsible for vetting potential judges (up to SCOTUS level), and according to her, he said that anytime a judge came up clean, he was immediately removed from the roster of potentials. The implication being that only controllable people are allowed.
The point is that all three branches of government are corrupt and no longer (if ever, don't mistake that phrase for golden day idealism) functioning as servants of the people and defenders of the constitution (I wonder what the legal importance of oaths really is these days, because I seem to be surrounded by oath-breakers(USMC combat vet)).
And of the three branches, it is the executive which lords it's power over the other two.
The really sad part is that it seems to be the private sector which lords power of the executive. This is the trail of breadcrumbs that truly concerned people need to start discussing, researching, and following. It's very difficult to do. It's hard to track down the global supranational corporate structure. I am still often referencing this paper: http://arxiv.org/PS_cache/arxiv/pdf/1107/1107.5728v2.pdf
Oh, and as far as technological surveillance goes, there are two main starting points. 1) open source EVERYTHING (especially our trackers ahem cellphones) 2) decentralize everything possible. That is how we gain control of our data back... but that's becoming more and more difficult.
Honestly, I think RMS was simply a man far ahead of his time, and the history books (if he isn't wiped from their pages) will refer to him as a visionary in a sea of overly pragmatic corporatists who failed to see the big picture.
I could go on quite a bit about this, but that's where I'll leave it for now.
Also, when you call the 202 number instead of having it call you, you the message talks about something related to the trans-Atlantic partnership, not the NSA issue.
Thanks for putting this together. I called and was pleased with the experience. Really hope some good comes of this.
We have an issue of education and clear message. Especially how this counters the Constitution.
Maybe a push for everyone to read "1984" :)
Might just as well play flappy bird instead, it will do about as much good.
If it gets to the point of the NSA adding people to no-fly and/or worse actions being taken, the situation would become hostile and more dangerous than the current peaceful political debate.
For example, crowdsourced black hat hacking bad links to any companies funding NSA loving politicians?
I mean... does anyone have any evidence to indicate that we need it?
Well, it is too short notice for me to invest the time to black out my website, so I will not be supporting this. Maybe there will be a similar action next year that I will support, if it is better advertised beforehand.
That's not entirely their fault, advertising is not free. You don't have to be all snobby about it. Sheesh.
I think I understand what is going on. The folks at the top look at all the huge centralized information stores like Facebook, Google, Verizon, etc., and I guess they think, "well, it's gonna get collected anyway, so we may as well have access to it." President Obama actually hinted at this line of thinking when initially caught off-guard by the Snowden revelations. Instead of responding directly, he deflected, suggesting that what we really needed was a larger conversation about mass collection of data, i.e. not just the collection by governments.
The trouble with mass data collection, either by governments or private entities, is that it gives the possessors of such information extreme amounts of power. Left unchecked, it will almost certainly lead to severe economic and political corruption. The free market is compromised when a small group of people can spy on the private communications of executives and other business people, for example by stealing trade secrets or conducting insider trading. Meanwhile, democracy is compromised when politically active people, including politicians and activists, are made subject to intense scrutiny. Since virtually no one is totally free from legal or moral wrongdoing, the possibilities for politically motivated blackmail and retaliation are massive. And of course the data collection has serious chilling effects on free speech and freedom of the press.
If no course correction is made, the U.S. will become more and more oligarchic, more and more like China and Russia. This is unfortunate not just for its implications vis-a-vis individual freedom, but also from a larger perspective. This century we are faced with a diverse array of extremely difficult problems: economic, political, social, and environmental. Non-democratic governments have a historical tendency to fight with one another rather than cooperate, so it is hard to imagine how we will effectively confront these problems in the absence of strong democratic institutions.
What worries me is that some of the people in positions of power may actually believe that this massive data collection is somehow necessary to protect Americans from terrorism. But it is patently obvious that terrorism is not, and never has been, a serious threat to the personal safety of most Americans. Over the past two decades, something on the order of 800,000 men, women and children have died in car crashes, while around 3,000 have died as a result of terrorism. If this were a matter of saving lives, we'd be much better off fighting a "War on Car Crashes" than a "War on Terrorism." If this is purportedly an economic issue, i.e. the fear that a dirty bomb will go off in Manhattan and upset commerce, well, the fact is much worse things have happened (i.e. Hiroshima) and economies have recovered. This perspective may sound cynical, but in truth it is idealistic. I am not dismissing the tragedy of the death of perhaps thousands of people, but rather saying that, for the sake of a free and democratic society, such sacrifice is worthwhile.
The idea that "collection is going to happen anyway, so we may as well have access" is not unreasonable, but it is ultimately self-defeating. What we need is real leadership on this problem. Not only is there no strong voice against mass data collection, but the overwhelming thrust of the government is to reach its tentacles as deeply into the data gathering machine as possible. Instead of working to lessen the danger, the government is acting to accentuate it, amassing and centralizing even more data, and meanwhile using its media access to legitimize such activities to the public.
Again, what is needed is strong leadership. We need a group of people at the highest levels of federal power to put up a fight in congress and explain clearly to the American people why, in fact, we are on a very dangerous road. If not corrected for, this road will lead to the end of the democratic experiment, and a very uncertain future for our children. I hope that you, as my elected representative, will seriously consider taking a stand on this issue.
Gotta love slacktivism.
There are potentially a lot of other ways to achieve the same goal, but if we don't hear them, we can't analyse/debate and decide to act upon them.
Not being sarcastic or anything, but if you do have an opinion on how to change/make this better, by all means please do so!