Being able to conduct our private online affairs privately is important.
Perhaps our opening statement seems weird and anachronistic, seeing as we live in a world where people are increasing both the amount of information they share, and the speed at which they share it.
Here’s why we think online privacy is important.
Privacy gives us the space as individuals to find and define our sense of self, and for organizations and companies to innovate and experiment.
Mass surveillance strips us all of the opportunity to choose what information we share, when, where and with whom. The choice between what’s public and what’s private is now in the hands of those that control the data.
Over the past eight months, the details of various national mass surveillance programs have been brought to light. We find the broad and unmitigated power that’s being entrusted to bodies like the National Security Agency (NSA) truly frightening.
We are pretty upset about it. We think you should be pretty upset about it too.
These mass surveillance programs undermine trust in our governments and in the corporations that provide access to and services on the Internet. Most importantly, it undermines trust in the Internet itself. It is the Internet that brings us together and allows us to share in each other’s experiences.
Why it matters to us
For OpenSRS: There is a crisis of faith in the organizations that govern the Internet. That, consequently, undermines how our business operates. The policies and procedures that are part of running the Internet infrastructure businesses depend on requires global trust in the organizations that develop and enforce them. Perhaps these organizations, like the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), are too closely connected to the US government, but can they become more global without benefitting those that would seek to control, censor and undermine the Internet?
For Ting: We’ve tried very hard to build a unique service. We’re open and transparent in our pricing and in how we interact with our customers. After years of gouging and poor customer service, it’s no wonder that there is a general lack of trust in mobile service providers. Now, though, it’s also clear that some companies have been providing warrantless, wholesale data access to surveillance programs. Customers are now concerned that we’re providing their phone records and meta-data to these programs without notification or due process. Though we haven’t received any law enforcement requests for user information, these concerns are understandable.
What we’re doing about it
- Hover will be donating $1 for every domain transferred to Hover on February 11.
- Ting will be donating $1 up to $10,000 for everyone that shares this post from the Ting blog using the sharing tools there.
What you can do about it
Here’s the great bit. Just over a year ago, citizens joined together online to defeat some rather heinous digital communications legislation. We know that individual voices matter, and we’ve seen the change they can bring.
If you’re American: Use the banner at the bottom of this post to contact your legislator and let them know that mass surveillance is unacceptable.
If you’re Canadian: Sign the petition hosted by OpenMedia. Or you can find and contact your member of parliament. Now is an excellent time to ask for increased oversight of the Communications Security Establishment (CSE).
Global citizens: Visit The Day We Fight Back and tweet, Facebook, or G+ your support for ending programs of mass surveillance.