Cosplayers are now dressing dress up for a cause.
Drawing comparisons between the evils of Voldemort and the NSA, civil liberties organization Electronic Frontier Foundation has joined forces with popular blog io9 and a coalition of sci-fi fan communities to raise awareness about people's right to anonymity online.
The product of the collaboration is "Project Secret Identity," a cosplay photo campaign that will coincide with the annual Dragon Con pop culture convention in Atlanta on August 29 to September 1.
"Project Secret Identity" has received the backing of a myriad of sci-fi fan organizations. The campaign has the backing of the Harry Potter Alliance, Firefly-inspired non-profit Southeastern Browncoats, Sherlock Holmes fan group Baker Street Babes, Wattpad and the Organization for Transformative Works.
"Whether it's the 'Eye of Sauron' in The Lord of the Rings or 'The Machine' in Person of Interest, genre culture has long explored and criticized mass surveillance," EFF Investigative Researcher Dave Maass said in a press release. "The last year's worth of stories about the NSA have read too much like dystopian fiction. In response, we need to focus the imaginations of fans to advocate for a future where free expression is protected through privacy and anonymity."
The NSA's spying exploits was first revealed through leaks whistleblower Edward Snowden. During the spring of 2013, Snowden, who worked as a contractor for the agency, provided journalists with top-secret documents that he stole. His revelations showed how far the NSA's reach has extended following the 9/11 attacks. The agency was secretly given the power to monitor the telephone and Internet activities of people around the world.
The online campaign, which can be found ProjectSecretIdentity.org, urges cosplayers to hold up slogans such as "I have the right to a secret identity" and "privacy is not a fantasy" as they pose for photos while in costume.
"Freedom from oppressive governments is central to the ethos of the Firefly fandom," Serenity Richards, the leader of the Southeastern Browncoats, said in a statement. "By standing up for anonymity today, we can prevent 'The Alliance' from becoming a reality in the future."
Dragon Con is one of the largest media fandom conventions in the East Coast. This year, the event is expected to attract 62,000 attendees.