FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

July 4, 2013

Media Contacts:

Tiffiniy Cheng & Evan Greer, Fight for the Future                         

Phone: 508-474-5248 or 978-852-6457                

Email: press@fightforthefuture.org 

Internet Defense League launched largest online protest since SOPA. Thousands of websites displayed a message against NSA spying on July 4th, tech companies & grassroots Internet users crowdfund 4th Amendment TV ads

In the wake of shocking revelations about sweeping NSA surveillance, the Internet Defense League -- a coalition of thousands of websites that formed after the Internet Blackout against SOPA -- and hundreds of sites, organizations and Internet users have organized the largest online protest since the SOPA blackout. Thousands of people attended Restore the 4th street actions that happened around the country and tens of thousands more rallied on the web calling for an end to unconstitutional government spying.


Thousands of tech startups, popular websites, and organizations helped to fly the IDL’s famous “Cat Signal,” including
WordPress (who built a plugin for all WordPress.com members to allow them to easily fly the cat signal on their sites), Namecheap, Reddit, 4chan, Mozilla, Internet Association, Imgur, Cheezburger, Demand Progress, O’Reilly Media, Upworthy, MoveOn, and EFF. Celebrities like actors Mark Ruffalo (who plays The Hulk),  Evangeline Lilly (Kate from the TV show “Lost”), and author Cory Doctorow also supported. True to the democratic spirit of the protests, each site and organization participated in their own way. Some, like Imgur, are running free ads regularly throughout the day. Namecheap is among those actively raising money to fund the protests and 4th Amendment television ads. The biggest web companies' own lobbying group, the Internet Association, made a statement supporting the 4th Amendment. Most sites, like 4chan, are displaying this message about NSA spying with the text of the 4th Amendment to the Constitution.

Users of who see the message on July 4th will be directed to CallForFree

dom.org, a page that has been set up for the protests where people can take action in a variety of ways: share a variety of 4th Amendment themed images, find their local Restore the Fourth protest, call Congress to demand investigations into NSA programs, or donate to help fund television ads about NSA surveillance.

The NSA issued a statement the day before the protest acknowledging the mass demonstrations this 4th of July (archived image here).

“The U.S. Government has been systematically spying on people all over the globe, violating their human rights,” commented Tiffiniy Cheng, of the Internet Defense League and Fight for the Future, “The NSA programs that have been exposed are blatantly unconstitutional, and have a detrimental effect on free speech and freedom of press worldwide. This is going to be our biggest protest since SOPA, and it should be no surprise. You can’t disregard people’s privacy, invade their personal lives on a daily basis, and not expect them to fight back.”

                         

Organizers are also promoted a social media Thunderclap that will reached more than 9.2 Million people, and was supported by “The Hulk,” actor Mark Ruffalo, tech luminaries like Tim O’Reilly, Lawrence Lessig, and Anil Dash as well as advocacy groups from across the political spectrum. Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL) has also joined and expressed his support.

In a blog post in support of the protests, Reddit expressed how the NSA’s activities affect the nation on a broad level, “in addition to all of the individual privacy issues, these secret mass surveillance programs are troubling for online businesses like reddit. The potential that a business can be legally and secretly compelled to violate the privacy of both foreign and domestic users casts a pall over any U.S.-based site.”

The Internet Defense League (IDL) is a network of over 30,000 websites and internet users that are dedicated to sounding the alarm and mobilizing action whenever there is a major threat or unmissable opportunity for the free and open web. Their recent actions have focused on CISPA, the CFAA, and the ITU.

For more information about the July 4th protests, visit www.CallForFreedom.org

For further information, see www.internetdefenseleague.org and www.fightforthefuture.org 

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Screenshots and links from the July 4th protest:

For images coming in from the more than 100 Restore the Fourth protests, follow #Restorethe4th on Twitter. We’re posting some here soon.

The New York rally had more than 500 protesters, who fill this photo and stretch out past another block on Wall Street.

 

The Chicago rally saw, by some estimates, over 200 people.

Hundreds turned out in San Francisco, too.

Most Internet Defense League sites, including 4chan, are displaying this modal on their front page until midnight EST on July 5.

Popular domain registrar, Namecheap is among those raising funds for the protests and TV ads with this statement and action on their front page:

Mozilla Firefox participated by pushing the message out to social media users via a Promoted Post on twitter, they have also been instrumental in the 500K+  StopWatching.us coalition.

Reddit, where the Restore the 4th Protests originated, as been running ads promoting them all week, and also posted this blog in support of the 4th Amendment today.

Wordpress who serve 18% of sites and offered the NSA modal to all their users by building it into their platform: 

The Internet Association represents the biggest web companies, including Google and Facebook. They joined the protests by making a statement in support of the 4th Amendment.

Popular sharing site, Upworthy, posted this image from our gallery, which was quickly shared almost 3,000 times.

O’Reilly.com flew the Cat Signal all day driving thousands of users to take action against NSA spying. Tim O’Reilly also tweeted his support.                                                                                          

Techdirt made their statement supporting the 4th Amendment here.

MoveOn featured it on their front page.

More than 14,000 shared this image (to a total social reach of over 9.25 Million) via Thunderclap, it’s still being shared now, and is going viral according to Know Your Meme.

Speaking of which, several sites in the Cheezburger network posted about the 4th Amendment protests:

Popular blog, BoingBoing has this message for the NSA at the top of their page all day, driving thousands of emails to Congress through CallForFreedom.org

The Electronic Frontier Foundation supported the Internet Defense League by building their own version of the modal code that gave websites the option to drive phone calls to Congress demanding investigations into NSA spying.

Many academics, celebrities, authors, musicians, and activists also voiced their support:

Actor Mark Ruffalo, best known for playing The Hulk in the Marvel movies, tweeted his support multiple times throughout the day. He added this personal message to his supporters.

Noted academic Lawrence Lessig expressed his support on twitter.

Rep. Alan Grayson, one of the few members of Congress who has spoken out strongly against NSA programs, joined our Thunderclap and tweeted this message:

Actor / activist Evangeline Lilly, a regular FFTF supporter best known for playing Kate on the popular TV show “Lost,”  tweeted her support multiple times and joined today’s Thunderclap.

Tech celeb and 4th Amendment supporter Anil Dash joined as well.

New America Foundation's OTI release a statement and joined the protests online.

And, finally, in anticipation of the 4th of July demonstrations, the NSA issued a statement condoning it.