Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Snowden Called for Greater Privacy on the Internet

Edward Snowden joined numerous tech companies and privacy groups to support the call to strengthen privacy rights on the Internet. The campaign dubbed Reset the Net was launched June 5 – exactly one year after Edward Snowden’s revelations about the scale of the US government’s snooping were first published by the UK and US newspapers.

Snowden underlined that it’s time to begin effectively shutting down the collection of everyday online communications. The former NSA contractor pointed out that adopting encryption would be the first effective measure that everybody can take to end mass snooping.

It's been a year since the first revelations, and in that time the government has failed to protect users’ rights, says Fight for the Future, the outfit which coordinated the initiative. Under the campaign, tech firms and Internet users cooperate to directly intervene in mass surveillance and block the National Security Agency and its kind from the Internet.

Snowden added that mass global surveillance is not just an American problem, but rather a global one. He said the US government’s creation of “backdoors” into tech firms led to openings for other countries to use, which is danger for any US citizen. The privacy groups have also announced the launch of the Courage Foundation – which is a fund dedicated to supporting Edward Snowden’s legal battles.

Google supported the Reset the Net by publishing the source code for an “end-to-end” encryption service for its Chrome web browser. Google has asked the developers to help the company work on the project, which would make it easy for people to encrypt their Internet data.

Then, Mozilla, maker of the Firefox browser, also supported the campaign, saying that despite all the publicity surrounding the NSA revelations, the public policy hadn’t change, with the threats to privacy and security remaining just as strong as before. Mozilla announced its new research project dubbed Cyber Security Delphi. In frame of this initiative, industry, academic and policy experts would be able to better assess ways of improving Internet security and privacy.

Another supporter of the campaign is Tumblr, the blogging website owned by Yahoo, which announced the plans to add SSL encryption by default for the readers of its blogs. Finally, the UK newspaper The Guardian has launched SecureDrop – a platform that enables users to anonymously submit files and data.

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