June 5th is Coming: Actions on the Anniversary of the First Snowden Release

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June 5, 2013 was when the world heard from Snowden. This year, it’s your turn to speak out.

On June 5th, 2013 the Guardian newspaper published the first of Edward Snowden’s astounding revelations. The secret court order that conclusively showed that the US government was collecting the phone records of millions of innocent Verizon customers. It was the first of a continuous stream of stories that pointed out what we’ve suspected for a long time: that the world’s digital communications are being continuously spied upon by nation states with precious little oversight.

A year later, we’re still learning about operations conducted globally by the United States and its closest allies in defiance of billions of people’s fundamental freedoms. We’ve discovered that the US government has confidential systems in place to scoop up data from American Internet companies. We’ve learned that the British equivalent, GCHQ, has taken millions of snapshots of Webcam images as they eavesdrop on the Internet backbone. We’ve seen encryption standards undermined, an entire country’s  telephone conversations recorded, and five billion records of phone locations globally recorded per day.

June 5th, 2014 marks a new year: a year that will not just be about listening to the inside story of mass surveillance, but a new year of fighting back. We know you were listening on June 5th last year. Now it’s time for you to tell others. Tell your family and friends. Tell the politicians you trust to stand up to their own out-of-control spies. Tell the companies to fix the security holes and business practices that make them a honey-pot of personal information for the intelligence services to plunder. Help the free software community to develop decentralized end-to-end services.

What else can you do? Here’s some of what’s happening around the first Snowden anniversary.

United Kingdom: On June 7th, the Don’t Spy On Us Coalition will be expanding their battle to stop GCHQ spying on Britons and they will be holding a major public event in central London, with The Guardian as hosts. Speakers include Cory Doctorow, Alan Rusbridger, Bruce Schneier, Neil Tennant, Shami Chakribarti, Lord Richard Allan, Baroness Helena Kennedy, Claude Moraes MEP, Ian Brown, Caspar Bowden, Gabrielle Guillemin, and more. You can join the coalition here.

European Union: European Digital Rights, a network of 36 European civil rights organizations and activists that have joined forces in Brussels have launched the campaign WePromise.EU in the run of the European Parliament elections that will be held in the European Union. If you are a citizen eligible to vote this week, you can promise to vote in favour of a candidate that opposes mass surveillance, and supports digital rights.

United States (and anywhere that weakened Internet security has compromised your privacy): We’re taking technical steps to take our privacy back with Reset The Net. Thousands have already pledged to take steps to protect their freedom from government mass surveillance. We’re going to push for companies to add government-proof security to their sites and apps, and we’ve pledged to spread NSA-resistant privacy tools to our friends and neighbours. Access’s Encrypt All The Things is another initiative that will be ramping up the pressure on Internet platforms to lock down their data against spying on June 5th.

Canada: In Canada, OpenMedia.ca and the Protect Our Privacy Coalition will be ramping up their campaign for effective legal measures to protect every resident of Canada from government surveillance. OpenMedia.ca will be supporting the Reset The Net initiative, and encouraging use of encryption as another way people can speak out about mass surveillance. They will also be intensifying efforts aimed at Canadian MPs and at Prime Minister Stephen Harper, urging him to take responsibility for his government’s actions and defend online privacy.

Spain: In Barcelona, the Association for Progressive Communications is holding Take Back The Net, from June 4-5 where human rights activists and tech providers will join together to share knowledge on how surveillance affects them, and co-operate to teach the latest tools to the people who need them. You can join Take Back the Net online or off, or hold a CryptoParty in your own neighbourhood (as Snowden did in Hawaii back in 2012).

South America: In Colombia, the digital rights group Fundación Karisma will be bringing together journalists and security experts to create a new generation of tech-savvy researchers, who’ll be able to protect their sources using a new generation of secure journalist tools.

The international coalition behind the Necessary and Proportionate Principles against unchecked surveillance will be holding actions in their own countries from Colombia to the European Union. Simon Davies, one of the pioneers of the global privacy movement, will be reporting how governments in several countries have responded to the Snowden revelations–and how they can do more.

Let us know how you’re fighting surveillance in your country, whether it’s on June 5th, or afterwards. Just email [email protected], and we’ll spread the word.

Republished from EFF with permission.