A coalition of companies, online platforms, and activist groups called on the government Tuesday through a protest dubbed as "The Day We Fight Back" to end mass espionage programs.
The protest was organized by different groups such as Fight for the Future, American Civil Liberties Union, Demand Progress, and Electronic Frontier Foundation. Technology companies such Mozilla, Tumblr, Reddit and around 6,000 more websites showed their support. The online protest was also in honor of technologist and activist Aaron Swartz who died in a tragic way last year and in celebration of a similar protest against the Stop Online Piracy Act and the Protect IP Act in 2012 that threatened to impose censorship of the Web.
"Governments worldwide need to know that mass surveillance, like that conducted by the NSA, is always a violation of our inalienable human rights. Over the past year, more than 360 organizations in over 70 countries have come together to support the International Principles on the Application of Human Rights to Communications Surveillance," the movement's website stated.
The principles being pushed by the proponents of the movement focus on the legality, necessity, transparency, and the need for oversight on surveillance programs of governments.
Organizers encouraged people and businesses to sign petitions, use banners on websites in support of the cause, and call and email congressional representatives to let them know what the people want. Also part of the agenda is to lobby for the USA Freedom Act, which aims to end the bulk collection of data by the National Security Agency (NSA), call for transparency on the proceedings of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, and call for leniency so companies can disclose information requests from government agencies.
The day of protest resulted to around 70,000 phone calls being made to the Congress aside from 140,000 emails being sent to the inboxes of representatives. As of reporting, the petition has been signed by at least 30,000 people. Across the social media world, there were 400,000 shares about the event, 84,000 tweets, and 25,000 shares on Google+.
Google, on February 11, showed support and endorsed needed legislatures that will help appease and protect private citizens and brands as well.
"The revelations about government surveillance practices-both in the U.S. and globally-over the past eight months have sparked a serious and overdue debate about the nature and scope of existing laws and programs. Google recognizes the very real threats that the U.S. and other countries face, but we strongly believe that government surveillance programs should operate under a legal framework that is rule-bound, narrowly tailored, transparent, and subject to oversight," the search engine firm stated on its public policy blog.
Websites such as Reddit were also very vocal about "The Day We Fight Back."
"Indiscriminate bulk surveillance programs by the NSA and their allies (detailed below) violate the First and Fourth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution, which protect citizens' right to speak and associate anonymously, guard against unreasonable searches and seizures, and protect their right to privacy," Reddit stated on its blog."In addition to individual privacy issues, these surveillance programs are damaging for online businesses like reddit. These programs undermine the basic freedom, innovation, and economic opportunity that the Internet enables."
Last month, the Obama administration announced reforms on how the government collects intelligence information and eased its rules on the disclosure of national security requests and orders.
The Day We Fight Back went ala Les Miserables and "Do You Hear the People Sing" is playing in the background.