Aiming for another Internet groundswell like the movement against the federal Stop Online Piracy Act, several groups including Mozilla, Reddit, WordPress, Demand Progress and MoveOn, are participating in online protests on the Fourth of July against National Security Agency surveillance programs.
As part of the effort, they will be directing users to contact members of Congress to call for an investigation into the programs.
The protest, organized by the Internet Defense League, will be held in conjunction with street protests by the group Restore the Fourth. As my Washington Post colleague Emi Kolawole noted, Restore the Fourth is just under a month old and recently explained some of its motivations in an AMA (Ask Me Anything) on Reddit.
The group said that representatives from more than 75 cities have contacted them about joining the holiday street protests, including “liberal groups, conservative groups and libertarian groups alike.”
The activists and tech companies are calling for the NSA to respect American’s Fourth Amendment rights against unreasonable search and seizure and are asking users to help push for a Congressional investigation.
The online effort is fairly wide-ranging. Participants will also include 4chan, Fark, the Cheezburger network, TOR, Demand Progress and the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which reported Tuesday that over half a million people had signed its petition demanding that “the U.S. Congress reveal the full extent of the NSA’s spying programs.”
The Internet Defense League was formed by groups instrumental in getting prominent Web sites to black out their pages to protest SOPA last year. The House bill was defeated.
On Independence Day, participating Web sites will show their support in different ways, IDL said, but many will be displaying the league’s symbol — a “cat signal” projected in the manner of the Batman symbol — and providing users with links for contacting lawmakers. The group is also raising funds for a television campaign about NSA surveillance.
Tiffany Cheng, of the Internet Defense League and Fight for the Future, said in a statement: “The NSA programs that have been exposed are blatantly unconstitutional, and have a detrimental effect on free speech and freedom of press worldwide. This is going to be our biggest protest since SOPA, and it should be no surprise. You can’t disregard people’s privacy, invade their personal lives on a daily basis, and not expect them to fight back.”
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