Mass surveillance, the internet, and you
You may or may not have noticed, but June 5th is Reset the Net day. It's been a year since Edward Snowden leaked documents detailing how broad and far-reaching the National Security Agency surveillance of American's telephone and internet activity is. The idea behind today's day of activities is to make sure as many people as possible know how to make their internet activity as private as possible - and encourage everyone, users and developers, to make it as hard as possible for anyone to watch what everyone else is doing on the internet.
Reddit, Google, Dropbox, and many other large companies have endorsed Reset the Net and are pledging to encrypt their services and support surveillance reform. If you run a website - or work for a company that has a website (which I'm guessing you do) - there's some great suggestions on how to make sure you provide as secure an experience as possible for your users (add HTTPS, HSTS, and PFS to your site, and add SSL and cert pinning to your mobile apps). As an individual, Reset the Net is providing the Privacy Pack, a set of free tools you can use to protect yourself online - like securing your mobile calls with RedPhone or encrypting your chat on your computer using Pidgin.
I'd encourage anyone who's interested in privacy online - whether you think the NSA's mass surveillance of Americans is appalling or a necessary tool - to check out the software and hints provided in the Privacy Pack. If you're interested in learning more about the full depth of the NSA's surveillance that was shown in the Snowden documents, Frontline just produced a ridiculously detailed and fascinating 4-hour documentary called United States of Secrets. Also, if you're interested at all in internet security and privacy, I highly recommend our Staying Safe Online and Protecting Your Privacy Online classes.
What do you think? Do people have a right to privacy online? How much surveillance is too much? What do you do to protect yourself online?
The Central Library will close early at 2 p.m. on Saturday, October 10 to prepare for the Booklovers Ball. More...