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Programmers Across the Country Are Self-Organizing to Protest NSA Surveillance

"The Day We Fight Back" campaign seeks to reform the NSA

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If you visit sites such as Upworthy, Hacker NewsBoingBoing or around 5,000 other sites today, you'll notice an odd headline: a banner stating "Today We Fight Back." The banner runs a loop of facts about the NSA's internet and phone surveillance activities, such as "The NSA is regularly tracking hundreds of millions of devices." 

This campaign, "The Day We Fight Back," is backed by a group of around 40 companies, activist groups and online platforms. The point is to inspire companies and individuals to call and email their legislators about the issue and to run the banner on thier website. (So far, a running tally on the banner records around 16,500 calls placed and 46,000 emails sent.) Specifically, the organizers hope the movement pushes into law the USA Freedom Act, which would increase transparency and "rein in the dragnet collection of data" by the NSA and other government agencies.

The campaign today is reminiscent of 2012's internet blackout, in which websites like Reddit and Wikipedia and many other websites shut down in protest of two bills, the Stop Online Piracy Act and Protect IP Act, which would have put legal limitations on user-generated web content. That protest was successful, but as the Verge points out, this time the aim is to "dismantle a system that’s been in place for years." 

That's a more complicated goal. "It’s easier to oppose a specific piece of bad legislation than to take on a broad security apparatus, especially when there’s still significant ambiguity about how agencies like the NSA operate," the Verge writes.

If you're got questions, or complaints, the organizers are hosting an AMA on Reddit.

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