A coalition of 5127 tech companies and advocacy groups, including the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Reddit, Mozilla, Tumblr and Wikia, have joined an online protest against an online intelligence gathering program run by the US National Security Agency.
The online protest, dubbed thedaywefightback.org, was announced on the second anniversary of online protests against the Stop Online Piracy Act, which many tech and web companies have attacked for provisions that could shut down well known and popular sites.
The SOPA act was intended to stop online piracy, but opponents said the language was so broad that it would have the potential to shut down sites that have links to pirated material, even if those links were posted without the administrators’ intent.
In response to the bill, which was eventually shelved, many popular websites, including Wikipedia and Google, shut down or posted protest notices for 24 hours.
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The anti-NSA protest, which will take place on February 11, will see participating websites display ads asking visitors to contact lawmakers to support legislation restricting the surveillance powers of US intelligence agencies.
It follows a series of leaks by former US intelligence contractor Warren Snowden to The Guardian newspaper allegedly showing a widespread online surveillance operation being run by the NSA.
“Since the first revelations last summer, hundreds of thousands of Internet users have come together online and offline to protest the NSA’s unconstitutional surveillance programs,” Josh Levy of Free Press says.
“These programs attack our basic rights to connect and communicate in private, and strike at the foundations of democracy itself. Only a broad movement of activists, organizations and companies can convince Washington to restore these rights.”