Proposed by a coalition of technology companies, privacy advocates, and activist groups, today, February 11th is the very first annual “The Day We Fight Back Against Mass Surveillance“.
Although the title isn’t exactly as catchy as it could be, the intent is clear as soon as you read the name what the protest is going to be all about. Firstly, the date is no mistake, as it marks the anniversary of the death of one of the leading members of the privacy community, Reddit co-founder and MIT book thief Aaron Swartz.
All your standard players are here in support of the message, including the American Civil Liberties Union, Greenpeace and The Electronic Frontier Foundation, as well as premiere technology companies like Mozilla, Tumblr, and Colt.
The idea behind the event is to expose the crimes of the United States and British governments, while bringing international attention to an issue which has the potential to affect anyone who owns a cellphone if left unchecked.
Like SOPA and Prop 8 before it, many of those taking part in the protest plan to do so through their favorite social media outlets, a la Facebook and Twitter, changing their avatars and copy pasting statuses which tell everyone on their closely monitored friends list that they disapprove of the way national intelligence has been handled in the US and worldwide. The organizers of the event want to propose a reasonable, sane, and manageable solution to a problem that desperately needs a way out.
So far the movement is paltry at best, sporting around 83,000 likes, 27,000 retweets, and a Reddit thread hovering somewhere around the low 200 range. This is a far cry from the attention bills like SOPA and PIPA received when they hit the Senate floor, but it’s something, and that’s a start.
The best one could hope for is is that by the end of today, a few thousand more people will take an active stance against spying in their home nations.
We may not have the numbers we need to make significant changes just yet, but if things keep heading in this direction it won’t be long before half the country is standing on the doorstep of the White House and asking sternly but politely to put some parental controls on their out of hand agency.