‘The day we fight back’: 6,000 websites protest surveillance, honor Aaron Swartz

The-Day-We-Fight-Back-2-e1391612024967More than 6,000 websites, including Reddit, Tumblr, Mozilla, are taking part in an online protest against government surveillance. The action marks two years since website blackouts against SOPA and PIPA and commemorates Aaron Swartz’s death.

The February 11 online protest, going by the title ‘The Day We Fight Back’, is supposed to see around 6, 200 websites each host a large banner at the top reading “Dear internet, we’re sick of complaining about the NSA. We want new laws that curtail online surveillance.”

The banner enables US internet users to contact members of Congress directly via email or a computer telephone call link using Twilio Voice. They would then be able to ask legislators to oppose the FISA Improvements Act, which would strengthen the NSA surveillance legality and to support the USA Freedom Act, that would, conversely, curb the domestic surveillance power of intelligence agencies.

As for website visitors from outside US, they are urged to sign a petition in support of the principles against mass surveillance. The petition has already been signed by more than 100,000 people.

In addition, everyone is encouraged to change their social networks’ profile pictures, adding a #STOPTHENSA tag to them.

“Together we will push back against powers that seek to observe, collect, and analyze our every digital action,” states the movement’s website. “Together, we will make it clear that such behavior is not compatible with democratic governance. Together, if we persist, we will win this fight.”

The protests are not confined to the instantaneous, infinite and easily accessible realm of cyberspace. Over a dozen protest events are taking place worldwide from Denmark, Costa Rica and Serbia to Stockholm, with street theater taking place in some US cities. San Francisco is seeing masses of people aiding in the projection of an anti-surveillance image onto the side of an AT&T building as a speech is given by one of its former technicians, whistleblower Mark Klein.

More than 130,000 emails have been sent to Congress to protest the NSA’s mass surveillance, the organizers claim, while activists gather on Capitol Hill demanding a halt to the spying.

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