Last 2 weeks in surveillance news: Reset the Net, NSA builds facial recognition database, new SSL bug

Reset the Net, a campaign intending to raise awareness about privacy issues and mass surveillance , was launched on the 5th of June, one year after the first Snowden leaks.  Nearly 60 organizations took part and showed a splash screen to all their websites’ visitors and on the campaign website were provided free encryption tools that users can  easily use to increase their privacy, aiming at encouraging direct actions against mass surveillance.

Here is Edwards Snowden‘s statement, release on June 5th, in support of the Reset the Net campaign:

Today, we can begin the work of effectively shutting down the collection of our online communications, even if the US Congress fails to do the same. That’s why I’m asking you to join me on June 5th for Reset the Net, when people and companies all over the world will come together to implement the technological solutions that can put an end to the mass surveillance programs of any government. This is the beginning of a moment where we the people begin to protect our universal human rights with the laws of nature rather than the laws of nations.

We have the technology, and adopting encryption is the first effective step that everyone can take to end mass surveillance. That’s why I am excited for Reset the Net — it will mark the moment when we turn political expression into practical action, and protect ourselves on a large scale.

Still, there are voices considering that the campaign’s approach is faulty or that it doesn’t go far enough. Nevertheless, it is a step forward, in this post-Snowden world, where NSA wrongdoings are still being revealed. So, while we only get to see a Snowdenbot, EFF has proof that NSA has destroyed evidences in key mass surveillance case. Moreover, a new revelation shows that the agency is harvesting millions of facial images from all over the Internet in order to build a facial recognition database. But no worries, it is totally legal, FBI is doing the same. What is even more, Vodafone admits that there are secret wires that allow government surveillance on their customers’ calls. And Heartbleed wasn’t as bad as a new found SSL bug is, which allows eavesdroppers to strip a network of its encryption just like that.

Featured image: Reset the Net.

Last but not least, in the UK a new proposal aims to imprison hackers for life, although they are the Internet’s immune system, as cybersecurity expert Keren Elazari argues.