Suppose your neighborhood experienced a dramatic increase in home break-ins. What might you and your neighbors do in response?
Some residents may join together in a neighborhood watch. Many residents will review their home security precautions. Some people will put new locks on their doors. Other neighbors will build or improve fences, close their curtains more often, install security lights or an alarm system, acquire a guard dog, or a keep a gun at the ready.
It has been a year since the publication of the first revelations on the United States government’s mass spying program based on documents obtained by whistleblower Edward Snowden. Yet, many people have not undertaken additional precautions in response.
A broad range of organizations launched on Thursday, under the title “Reset the Net,” a campaign to encourage people to take steps to protect private communication from government break-ins. Reset the Net describes its message in a promotional video:
The call is simple. Find some territory of the internet that you can protect from prying eyes. Seize it and hold it.
The express goal of Reset the Net coalition sounds reasonable—much like the steps neighbors would take in response to home break-ins.
The coalition includes “good neighbor” members such as the American Civil Liberties Union that has fought the US government’s mass spying program. It also includes members whose intentions should be looked at with greater concern — Google, for example.
Just like with criminals who break into homes, there is no sure way to defend yourself from the US government’s snooping — especially if you are specifically targeted. But, many people taking an extra step or two of precaution may significantly reduce the mass spying’s effectiveness. One place to start exploring options is the Electronic Frontier Foundation article “Ten Steps You Can Take Right Now Against Internet Surveillance.”