Privacy SOS

Don’t wait for someone to give you the privacy you deserve: take it back

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If you're a regular reader of this website you're probably fed up with congress' efforts to rein in NSA spying in the wake of the Edward Snowden disclosures. The USA FREEDOM Act that once looked so promising now has some privacy and security experts shaking their heads, worrying that if passed as the amended bill stands, it would actually make things worse.

Various lawsuits challenging NSA bulk spying are slowly working themselves through the courts, but there's no guarantee the highest court in the land will rule the right way once something solid finally lands in front of them.

Meanwhile, a year after Edward Snowden's first disclosure hit the internet, people from all political corners are increasingly fed up and outraged. We can't give up on our legislative and legal advocacy work, but we don't have to wait for those struggles to bear substantive fruit before starting to fix the problems Snowden exposed.

We are taking matters into our own hands.

Today, civil liberties groups, media organizations, and internet companies together launch an effort to set the internet free from the chains of mass surveillance. Reset the Net asks companies and individuals to make one positive change towards enhanced security and privacy, whether it be installing HTTPS everywhere on your computer, learning how to encrypt your email or chat, or building anti-NSA measures into your next app.

In concert with the Reset the Net efforts, the Free Software Foundation has put together an excellent, easy to understand guide to email encryption, with options for Linux, Mac, and Windows users. If you don't already, take this first step and start encrypting your email today. It's one of the most empowering things you can do to protect your communications from prying eyes. And as a bonus, sending secret messages also feels damn good.

If you want to take further steps, such as learning how to use encrypted chat services and browse the web anonymously, check out Micah Lee's in-depth privacy primer. With a little time and effort, you can take relatively simple measures to keep criminals, foreign governments, and domestic spy agencies out of your inbox, your web history, and your chats with friends.

We don't have to wait for congress or the courts to give us the rights we deserve. We can take them back on our own, thank you very much. See how you can get involved to Reset the Net.

© 2021 ACLU of Massachusetts.