On June 5th 2013, Guardian published the first of the Edward Snowden-leaked documents, a National Security letter that compelled Verizon to produce copies of all of their customer’s call records, and deliver them to the NSA on an “ongoing, daily basis”. By itself, that was a huge deal — very few people had ever seen a national security letter, save for those unfortunate enough to receive one.
That was a year ago, and it’s amazing what we’ve learned since them. Aside from collecting phone records, the NSA has gathered information from social network connections, started a massive facial recognition project, tapped fiber optic cables, collected vast amounts of information about what people do on the internet, bugged the phones of world leaders, hacked into computer systems, spied on diplomats during the G8 and G20 summits, and collected millions of text messages and credit card transactions. This is not even a complete list. The NSA is out to conduct surveillance on everyone who ever had a pulse. Or, perhaps we’re all (at least remotely) suspects in some big “terrorist” investigation. Or, perhaps both.
Fortunately, there is one thing that will make the NSA’s job far, far more difficult: encryption. Encryption is a form of personal security — much like the lock on your front door — and anyone can use it. You’re as justified in using encryption as you are in locking the door on your way out.
Which brings us to the main topic of this post. Thursday June 5th is the one-year anniversary of the first Snowden leaks, and the Massachusetts Pirate party is one of the many groups working in coalition to Reset the Net. As part of our participation, masspirates.org is now served only over HTTPS (with the exception of a few old Android devices, that can’t digest our X509 certificate). We value your privacy, and that’s why we’re encrypting traffic to and from masspirates.org.
We’re also putting on an event. Join us from 7-9pm on Thursday June 5th, at Encuentro5 (9 Hamilton Place, Suite 2A, Boston, MA — about a block from the Park Street T station). Quartermaster Steve will give a talk about Privacy and Surveillance, and we’ll have an informal PGP keysigning. We hope you can join us.
Reset the Net. Don’t ask for your privacy. Take it back.