An alliance of major technology firms and websites has called for an internet ‘reset’ to prevent government agencies from monitoring and ‘spying on’ our internet usage, including the data we send and receive via websites. According to the group, weak links in the internet such as non secure websites, are allowing Government agencies like the NSA, and governments of US allies including the UK, to spy on everything we do online.
The movement demands that basic security standards such as SSL encryption and https – which encrypts transferred data – are mandatory requirements to be built into all websites. The group is also encouraging internet users and developers to use tools such as HTTP Strict Transport Security (HSTS) and Perfect Forward Secrecy (PFS).
Over 20 firms have signed up to the group which includes notable names such as GreenPeace, Reddit, Duck Duck Go, Imgur and the Open Technology Institute.
The group are planning the 5th of June as the day they ‘reset the net’ by implementing new privacy tools into their websites, and raising awareness through splash banners on their homepages – in the hope that others will follow. The date is chosen as it is the anniversary of the release of NSA documents by Edward Snowden, former CIA employee and NSA contractor. The documents revealed a global surveillance operation run by the US in conjunction with Canada, the UK and Australia. The US have issued an international arrest warrant for Snowden
“We can’t stop targeted attacks, but we can stop mass surveillance, by building proven security into the everyday Internet,” the website says.
“As the NSA and other intelligence authorities continue to undermine the basic security of the Internet ecosystem, it’s become clear that we need to build new legal and technical firewalls against overreaching government surveillance.” – Kevin Bankston, New America Foundation’s Open Technology Institute Policy Director.
This movement comes in the wake of major websites such as Yahoo, Twitter, Microsoft, and Google announcing increased security measures to protect their users’ data from government surveillance.