A coalition is forming to fight against unwarranted government surveillance. They’re calling it ‘Reset The Net’. They hope to be as successful this time around as they were in the grassroots campaign against anti-piracy legislation in 2012. The new coalition of nearly two-dozen tech companies and civil liberties groups is organized by Fight For The Future and is calling for a day of action on June 5. This date, not coincidentally, is the anniversary of Edward Snowden’s now famous leaks of the NSA’s PRISM program. The coalition members include Reddit, Imgur, DuckDuckGo, Credo Mobile and the Free Software Foundation. They are joined by many civil liberties groups.
For now the powerhouse giant companies remain on the side lines. One reason being that the lines are not as clearly drawn as they were during the Anti-SOPA fight of two years ago. It just may be that they are testing the wind and see where the chips fall. In 2012, with the aid of the large tech companies, thousands of websites went dark forcing the government to knuckle under and the legislation to be defeated.
Specifically, the coalition is urging developers to add NSA resistant features to mobile apps. They would also like to see security enhancements on websites such as SSL (Secure Socket Layer), HSTS (HTTP Strict Transport Forwarding Security) and Perfect Forward Secrecy. They feel that such systems would better secure the communication of users and frustrate government snooping. They’re also calling on mobile apps and websites to flash a Reset The Net screen on June 5. As a corollary, they will distribute a privacy packet which comprising a package of free software tools like Adium and Pidgin (for encrypted chat), Textsecure and Redphone (for encrypted phone calls and text messaging) and GPG (for encrypted email).
The VPN industry watches all this with baited breath, looking for ways to step ahead in the privacy battle.
As the spectre of mass surveillance grows, the industry is responding in turn by developing systems designed to impede mass surveillance. So while the major tech companies may not overtly support the coalition with words, they are doing so with their actions. Stay tuned. There’s bound to be more as June approaches.