A new alliance composed of privacy and digital rights advocates are encouraging internet users to block mass surveillance and fight back against the National Security Agency on June 5.
The coalition, dubbed Reset the Net is hoping to carry out its goal through the further implementation of SSL, HTTP Strict Transport Security (HSTS), Perfect Forward Secrecy (PFS) and end-to-end encryption, among other layers of security.
The campaign, organized by the nonprofit group Fight For The Future, is composed of 30+ groups including sites like Reddit, Imgur, and Boing Boing alongside progressive policy organizations like Greenpeace and MoveOn.org.
The alliance’s main goal is to get hundreds of sites and apps to add proven security methods to help prevent surveillance going forward.
“Government spies have a weakness,” the group says in a video posted today, “They can hack anybody, but they can’t hack everybody. Folks like the NSA depend on collecting insecure data from tapped fiber.”
The group is urging mobile app developers to implement SSL and certificate pinning in their apps and end-to-end encryption in messaging apps. The group is also calling on websites, if they haven’t already, to add SSL, HSTS and PFS protection.
HSTS is a security policy mechanism that complies browsers to only interact with HTTPS connections while PFS is a public key cryptography tool that prevents session keys from being compromised.
At the very least the group is hoping that on June 5 casual Internet users will try at least try out one NSA-resistant privacy tool. Reset the Net plans on having those concerned about their privacy promote tools for end-to-end encryption, tools the group claims are easy to use, just not well known.
Those tools – applications like Adium and Pidgin, Textsecure and Redphone, HTTPS Everywhere, and Tor – will be included in what the group is calling a “privacy pack.” The free software will be distributed along with tips tailored to securing common computers, phones and tablets.
The movement is set to coincide with the one-year anniversary of the of the first NSA revelation story coming to light. It was on June 5 last year that The Guardian first published its account of how the NSA was collecting the telephone records of millions of US Verizon customers.
It was the following day that the PRISM collection program unveiled how closely tech companies had been working with the NSA to thwart encryption and privacy measures. Several days later, the identity of former NSA contractor Edward Snowden was revealed.
“One year after Snowden’s first NSA story, we’ll all take one powerful step to turn off government spying and turn on freedom,” the video proclaims.
It’s the latest such coalition to emerge in the wake of dozens of NSA surveillance stories that have sent shockwaves worldwide.
The Electronic Privacy Information Center, the EFF and the Chaos Computer Club were just several of the privacy and digital rights organizations behind Necessary and Proportionate, an alliance that formed last November to protest more or less the same thing, government surveillance.
Facebook, Apple, Google, Twitter, Microsoft and LinkedIn led a similar charge in December, when they joined hands to form the coalition Reform Government Surveillance, aimed at curbing the surveillance of America.