It's that time of year again -- to hit the streets and protest in the name of privacy and Internet neutrality. On February 23, the designated International Day for Privacy (#IDP13), local activists and advocates are planning to rally outside the Massachusetts Statehouse before hosting a CryptoParty at which they'll teach self-defense tactics for protecting one's self from the prying eyes of Big Brother.
The Massachusetts Pirate Party has published a detailed schedule of events, with seminars covering broad concepts (‘Why protect yourself'), as well as best practices -- like file/disk encryption, Tor, and securing phones/computers.
There will also be a ‘Pardon Private Bradley Manning Stand-Out' at Park Street starting at 1pm, occurring in solidarity with Manning support actions set to take place on IDP13 in a number of cities across the world.
And this week there's even more reason to be concerned about government cyber-spying.
Last Sunday, the Guardian published disturbing video footage illustrating Raytheon's 'Riot' (Rapid Information Overlay Technology) software at work. The multi-national, Massachusetts-based defense firm has developed a program that mines social media sites like Foursquare, Facebook, and Twitter, using data to track individuals' behavior.
The Guardian also mentioned in their reporting that Raytheon shared this software with US government and industry in 2010, as part of a joint research and development effort, "to help build a national security system capable of analysing ‘trillions of entities' from cyberspace."
Last Thursday, the US House of Representatives saw the return of the CISPA (Cyber Information Sharing and Protection Act). The ACLU rehashed their opposition in a release dated February 13.
According to ACLU Legislative Counsel Michelle Richardson, "The ACLU still opposes CISPA, which once again allows companies to share sensitive and personal American internet data with the government, including the National Security Agency and other military agencies."All this comes little more than a month after the death of Aaron Swartz, a renowned Internet activist celebrated in part for campaigning against Net censorship bills in 2012, namely SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) and PIPA (Protect IP Act).
As mentioned in Chris Faraone's January 18 article, ‘You Are Not Alone: The fight for electronic privacy reaches Beacon Hill,' the extension of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) means "virtually everyone is still vulnerable to warrantless eavesdropping and wiretapping."
For more information on IDP events in Boston: