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Reset the Net: Please keep pressing the button

We should fight them on the blogs
Fri Jun 06 2014, 14:33

THE DAY IS OVER, but the Reset the Net campaign must not die or fade away.

The campaign had a large impact yesterday, and saw a huge number of people join in a social media thunderclap. I want that clap to echo.

Reset the Net came a year after Edward Snowden puffed his cheeks and blew the loudest whistle that the technology industry has even seen. The shrill government response to his surveillance revelations has attracted commentators and thrown together an assortment of outfits, individuals and websites.

The Reset the Net day was a success from the looks of things. Support from outfits like Wordpress and Yahoo has thrown a comforting SSL blanket over billions of blog pages, and the Reset the Net campaigners called the day "Epic".

The numbers are incredible, innumerable you could say, if no one had counted them. Fortunately they have. At Wordpress alone a decision to embrace SSL will help secure 14.5 billion webpage views a month and 409 million bloggers.

Yahoo's Tumblr also pledged SSL adoption and here some 187 million blogs will catch a serious security break. Wikipedia, where I probably could have found all this information, also upped its SSL game, and this will benefit 500 million information seekers a month.

Minecraft, which has passed me by but has enthralled my two young nephews, put up a splash banner about the effort, meaning that its huge pool of builder types also got the message. The people at Reddit got it too, and Twitter and Duckduckgo users would have got more than a brief taste of the cause.

The day was what I think you would call a success, and the message was widely heard, widely shared and widely supported. If you consider its reach alone it was a blockbuster campaign that will probably affect more people than own the Best of Queen album, which is almost uncountable.

The message from the campaigners is that we do not have to accept totalitarian surveillance as our destiny, even thouhgh it might seem like that is the case, that everything we do is open to inspection by security state complex actors and used at their own whims. Today we learned that Vodafone faces a tricky environment, we have already learned that firms including Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Cisco have had problems with government surveillance regimes.

Edward Snowden has not accepted it. Facebook has not accepted it, and nor have Google or Microsoft or any of the other IT firms that have spoken out against it during the last year.

Yesterday things surely reached a peak, and yesterday the rolling stone of progress gathered a lot of traction. The immediacy of the events yesterday, the large group hug that embraced security and privacy, cannot be released. It must be a bear hug, not a casual embrace.

If you pressed that button on Thursday, I ask you to keep your finger on it. We need to keep ringing the alarm against surveillance.

You don't have to take my word for it. Listen to what the man who started all this had to say. He knows that his work so far has done its job, and he realises that there is more to do.

"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," Edward Snowden said.

"We have the technology, and adopting encryption is the first effective step that everyone can take to end mass surveillance."

People made history yesterday, and the internet proved that there is more to it than twerking cats kicking men in the balls while pandas sneeze. Those things are important, yes, but your online liberty is more important.

So, please keep pushing that button, let's Reset the Net. µ


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