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1 year of NSA leaks later, it's time to take back your privacy: Reset the Net

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June 5 marks the one-year anniversary of the first documents leaked by Edward Snowden. In that year, we saw leak after leak "proof" of how the "NSA has corrupted the Internet." Starting on June 5, don't ask for your privacy; take it back.

The EFF wants everyone to participate in fighting back against government surveillance through Reset the Net.

"Mass surveillance is toxic for the Internet," wrote the EFF's Nadia Kayyali. "Don't wait for your privacy and freedom. Start taking it back."

On June 5th, Reset the Net is asking everyone to help by installing free software tools that are designed to protect your privacy on a computer or a mobile device. Reset the Net is also calling on websites and developers to add surveillance resistant features, like HTTPS and forward secrecy.

The Reset the Net privacy pack is a set of free software tools that include:

  • Adium & Pidgin for private (OTR) chat over Gtalk, Facebook, Yahoo, MSN, XMPP / Duck Duck Go and others.
  • Textsecure and Redphone for Android and iPhone (we hope), for private SMS and voice calls.
  • HTTPS Everywhere for browsers
  • GPGtools and Enigmail (as a bonus for more sophisticated users)
  • TOR (as a bonus for sophisticated users or those with anonymity needs)
  • Tips on how to enable full disk encryption on your computers, phones, and tablets, for easy, strong protection in extreme situations.

You'll notice Skype is not on the list, as it is believed to have a backdoor for the government. So if Skype is you primary chat messenger, then stop and take a look at these in the privacy pack. Adium is an instant messaging app for Mac OS X; Pidgin works with Windows, Linux and UNIX. But taking your chats off the record (OTR) will not protect you if you are specifically a target of surveillance. It is however effective against passive mass surveillance.

Textsecure and Redphone are great apps for Android to Android, but what if you are talking to someone with an iPhone or Windows phone? If it is texting that interests you, Wickr is also free and it works on Android and iPhone. The EFF previously gave Wickr five out of six gold stars for protecting users from government data demands; it only missed getting all six stars because Wickr did not have to bring public court battles on behalf of its users. If you have a Windows phone, then I'm sorry you are out of luck when it comes to having an app for NSA-proof chats or calls.

The EFF joined over 40 other organizations that are calling for everyone to take back their privacy through Reset the Net. Websites can pledge to add surveillance resistant features like SSL, HSTS & PFS. If you have a mobile app, and that app talks to a server, then make privacy and security a priority by using SSL, certificate pinning and more. Large companies are asked to follow Encrypt all the Things and to promote the Data Security Action Plan, which "offers seven security- enhancing steps that every internet platform should take to safeguard our data."

Think back over all the NSA surveillance leaks over the past year. Haven't you seen enough to realize that no one is going to hand you your privacy no matter how politely you ask. You must take it back. Help get the word out to Reset the Net and end mass surveillance!

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