— The Erimtan Angle —

‘The5th June 2014 is the first anniversary of the first ever story published on the NSA documents leaked by the whistleblower Edward Snowden. And to mark this auspicious occasion, 200 websites, including Reddit, Imgur, Greenpeace and Amnesty, are taking part in a protest against mass surveillance. Alongside this, ordinary web users are being called upon to take part in a “thunderclap” action where everyone posts the same message across Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr all at the same time (4 June 2014)’.

On RT’s Op-Edge, Rick Falkvinge writes that a “year has passed since Edward Snowden started telling us what really was going on in the world. Since that date, various holders of power have been struggling – without success – to reclaim the control of the narrative, the control of the news flow. But in the age of the net, the power of narrative rests squarely with the many, rather than with the elite. People have become aware of mass surveillance, even if they haven’t become aware of its full consequences yet. But the story is out. The proverbial cat isn’t just out of the bag, but has left the entire city and is halfway across the continent. This hasn’t prevented an ivory tower establishment from playing “no see, no hear, no speak” monkey games, pretending Snowden does not exist and that people don’t already know what we know. Carl Bildt, the Swedish Minister of Foreign Affairs, [for example, ] has been one of the strongest proponents of NSA-style mass surveillance and trying to “control” the net – completely ignoring the fact that this necessarily means controlling (effectively eliminating) free speech. He’s even gone on record stating that mass surveillance doesn’t violate human rights because it is covert: as if security services don’t violate people when doing so doesn’t leave traces”.[1]

Whereas, TIME‘s P. Nash Jenkins muses that a “year ago, the classified documents released by whistle-blower Edward Snowden went public. It’s been a less-than-tranquil 12 months for those who feel personally impacted by the leak: for the American people who view the disclosed surveillance programs as a violation of individual freedoms, for the U.S. government that has spent much of its time both condemning Snowden’s actions and attempting to justify its own, and for those vigilantes of personal liberties who have flocked to the Internet to champion Snowden as a patron saint of their cause. On June 5, a year from when the Washington Post and the Guardian broke the story that would win them a Pulitzer, the digital-rights-advocacy group Fight for the Future will commemorate the anniversary by leading a campaign against mass government surveillance that will urge the use of encryption tools to keep Internet users protected online. The organization is calling the initiative Reset the Net, and it’s gaining momentum through the support of some vocal online communities — Anonymous, Reddit — and, via a statement presumably written from his place of asylum in Russia, Snowden himself . . . On Thursday, [5 June, ] more than 200 websites, including such Internet figureheads as Google and Imgur, will display a “splash screen” — in this case, sort of a PSA pop-up — that’ll offer their visitors “tips on ensuring web privacy” and a download link for encryption software directly from Fight for the Future’s website, Russian news agency RT reports. In a blog post on Tuesday [, 3 June], Google announced its support for the push for more secure Internet use, especially in email services”.[2]

[1] Rick Falkvinge, “Orwell or liberty: One year later, holders of power still ignore Snowden” RT (05 June 2014). http://rt.com/op-edge/163632-snowden-mass-surveillance-sweden/.

[2] P. Nash Jenkins, “A Year After the Snowden Leaks, the Online Community Is Still Fuming” TIME (05 June 2014). http://time.com/2825029/a-year-after-the-snowden-leaks-the-online-community-is-still-fuming/.

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