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First POST: Fight Club

BY Micah L. Sifry | Tuesday, February 11 2014

Fight Club

  • It's "The Day We Fight Back" for more than 6,000 websites, advocacy groups and Internet companies today, all banding together to protest the National Security Agency's mass surveillance programs, oppose Senator Dianne Feinstein's FISA Improvements Act, and support the USA Freedom Act. That bill, cosponsored by Senate Judiciary Chair Pat Leahy and Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, would limit the collection of phone metadata, create a public advocate in the FISA court, and force more transparency to that court. As our Jessica McKenzie reports, the groups participating include the EFF, ACLU, Reddit, Upworthy, Tumblr, Mozilla, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, Greenpeace, Free Press and Freedom Works.

  • The Reform Government Surveillance coalition, which includes Google, Microsoft, Facebook, AOL, Twitter, LinkedIn and Yahoo, collectively added their names to The Day We Fight Back yesterday, but as Dustin Volz reported for National Journal, it was unclear to what extent they would participate by adding banners to their websites pressing users to call their Members of Congress. As of 8am ET, there was no sign that any of those tech giants were altering their homepages.

  • Among the sites notably not in the Day We Fight Back coalition: Wikipedia, which played an important role in the anti-SOPA/PIPA coalition two years ago. This February 5 letter from EFF and Demand Progress, two of the coalition's key spark-plugs, to the Wikipedia Community, failed to get the giant site's volunteers to reconsider their decision to stay on the sidelines.

  • Former third-party Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura is also backing "The Day We Fight Back.

  • The internet freedom group La Quadrature du Net has built an in-depth interactive database of all that has been reported about the NSA surveillance activities, covering more than 350 specific programs.

  • Eight Republicans in Maryland's House of Delegates are proposing to deny the Fort Meade-based NSA water and electricity carried on state utilities, US News's Steven Nelson reports.

  • Just in time for the changing zeitgeist about privacy online, the new anonymous sharing app Secret gets a mostly friendly write-up from Wired's Liz Stinson. Is semi-anonymity the future? I recommend checking out Secret if for no other reason than this: it's user experience is incredibly well designed.

  • Melissa Byrne takes First Look Media to task for only employing three women out of twelve staffers, noting that she had tweeted Glenn Greenwald about this concern months ago and he had promised that the news site would "be aggressively diverse." Andy Carvin tweets on FLM's behalf, linking to Bryne's post and saying it is "something we're keenly aware of and are working to address."

  • Alex Howard reports for ReadWriteWeb on Esri's plan to make it easier for public geographic information systems to access government data.

  • One-third of Saudi Arabia's internet users are on Twitter, the highest proportion in the world, and they're using it to vent frustration with the government, the Independent's Glen Carey and Deema Almashabi report.