A broad coalition of well-known organizations announced today that it will stage an online protest against wide-ranging government surveillance of Internet users on 11 February, in memory of activist Aaron Swartz.
Reddit, the Electronic Freedom Foundation, Free Press, Mozilla and several other organizations will urge people to contact lawmakers and put pressure on them to help end the NSA's aggressive information collection activities on the "Day of Action in Opposition to Mass Spying, Honoring Aaron Swartz and SOPA Blackout Anniversary."
Free Press' Josh Levy said in a statement that mass movements of this type are critical to checking the surveillance programs.
"Since the first revelations last summer, hundreds of thousands of Internet users have come together online and offline to protest the NSA's unconstitutional surveillance programs," he said. "These programs attack our basic rights to connect and communicate in private, and strike at the foundations of democracy itself."
The announcement was made just ahead of the one-year anniversary of Swartz' suicide on Jan. 11, 2013. He was under indictment for allegedly downloading a large number of academic journal articles illicitly, and prosecutors had repeatedly stated their intent to jail Swartz. Public criticism of the prosecution has been harsh, with members of both houses of Congress among many others weighing in.
Swartz was the co-founder of the activist group Demand Progress, along with David Segal. Segal said that the NSA's spying is inimical to a free society.
"If Aaron were alive he'd be on the front lines, fighting back against these practices that undermine our ability to engage with each other as genuinely free human beings," he said.
Supporters of the coalition's efforts can participate by raising awareness on social media, install widgets on their personal websites and sign up for email updates at TheDayWeFightBack.org.
Email Jon Gold at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter at @NWWJonGold.