On Tuesday, a little more than two years after the "blackout" in opposition to the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), Internet freedom activists are officially "planning a day of protest against mass surveillance" aimed at the National Security Agency.
In a movement called "The Day We Fight Back," thousands of websites will host a banner urging people to call Congress in opposition to the FISA Improvements Act, which was approved by the Senate Intelligence Committee and its chairman, Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-Calif.). The ACLU called the act "a dream come true for the NSA" that would "codify the NSA's unconstitutional call-records program and allow bulk collection of location data from mobile phone users."
Feinstein, however, defended the bill when it was originally approved by the Senate Intelligence Committee in October.
"The NSA call-records program is legal and subject to extensive congressional and judicial oversight, and I believe it contributes to our national security," she said in a statement. "But more can and should be done to increase transparency and build public support for privacy protections in place."
The banner will tell people to support the USA Freedom Act, introduced by Reps. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) and Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), instead.
The groups backing"The Day We Fight Back" range from mainstream websites like Reddit and Tumblr to organizations like the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Demand Progress, which was co-founded by Aaron Swartz, the activist who took his own life a little more than a year ago while facing charges over hacking into the library at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and downloading millions of academic articles.