Today openDemocracy is supporting the Reset the Net day of action against online surveillance. The Reset the Net campaign highlights a number of things that citizens can do to take back their privacy. It’s worth taking a look at this pack for the steps that you can take on your phone or on your computer to protect yourself online.
As part of today’s effort openDemocracy has pledged to introduce the HTTPS protocol. HTTPS is the secure, encrypted version of the Hypertext Transfer Protocol - the language that your web browser uses when it's talking to a website. By browsing through HTTPS anything you send or receive - username, passwords, personal data, cookies - is encrypted, therefore protected from eavesdropping. To browse in this secure way trying adding this extension that the Electronic Frontier Foundation have provided for Firefox, Chrome and Opera.
We’ve added HTTPS to the user registration and login process and we’re working to ensure that the rest of the site can be browsed this way too. (Note that when you first visit openDemocracy with HTTPS your browser may ask you to confirm that you want to connect securely to openDemocracy and 'Add an Exception' - which you'll just need to do once - see this screenshot from Firefox).
Edward Snowden says of today’s Reset the Net action:
"One year ago, we learned that the internet is under surveillance, and our activities are being monitored to create permanent records of our private lives — no matter how innocent or ordinary those lives might be.
Today, we can begin the work of effectively shutting down the collection of our online communications, even if the US Congress fails to do the same. That’s why I’m asking you to join me on June 5th for Reset the Net, when people and companies all over the world will come together to implement the technological solutions that can put an end to the mass surveillance programs of any government. This is the beginning of a moment where we the people begin to protect our universal human rights with the laws of nature rather than the laws of nations.
We have the technology, and adopting encryption is the first effective step that everyone can take to end mass surveillance. That’s why I am excited for Reset the Net — it will mark the moment when we turn political expression into practical action, and protect ourselves on a large scale.
Join us on June 5th, and don’t ask for your privacy. Take it back.”
Also, a year on from the huge public service that Edward Snowden provided by leaking the NSA documents to the Guardian, check out Anthony Barnett's fascinating interviews with Michael Hayden - former head of the NSA - and William Binney, the NSA's former Technical Director. And - on OurKingdom - read about the campaigns against surveillance around the world that are marking the anniversary of the revelations.
(Thanks to Pascal Martin and Johan Colliez of Linterweb who are working to make openDemocracy more secure).