While millions of people are still trying to assimilate the fact that Donald Trump won the election, in the United States a movement of concerned activists is trying to warn the incoming administration and the general public about the dangers of massive state surveillance and privacy violations.
President-elect Donald J. Trump made radical promises when he ran for office. The billionaire might sign policies that could compromise the rights of millions of Internet users: Massive state surveillance and indiscriminate user tracking.
The upcoming Trump presidency has sparked the reaction of one of the organizations fighting for net neutrality and the freedom of the Internet, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), has published an open letter to raise awareness in the technology industry. The document asks the community to work together towards the censorship of encryption, and overall restriction of liberties.
Are EFF’s concerns valid? recent history has proved so, the servers and infrastructure of thousands of technology companies reside within US borders, and the government has the most advance (and well funded) intelligence agencies.
If the Trump administration moves ahead with these plans, it will need Silicon Valley’s cooperation. Tech companies may face unprecedented demands to build such databases, or to search for, analyze, and hand over private data of and about their users. These companies hold our private conversations, thoughts, experiences, locations, photos, and more. All of this is vulnerable to misuse by a hostile administration.
Trump selected Ajit Pai as FCC (Federal Communications Commission) leader. Pai previously declared that net neutrality days were numbered. He said:
Next year’s Commission should consider acting quickly to reverse any damaging policies put into place over the last eight years and in the last few weeks of this Administration.
A new wave of threats linger over the freedom and privacy rights of Internet users, as Edward Snowden said: “net neutrality and the defense of encryption methods is a global fight, not just a US political issue”.
The EFF has called the tech community to resist handing out user’s data to the present or incoming administration, the organization has recommended the following:
- Encrypt: EFF calls for the massification (already in progress) of HTTPS, the secure, encrypted protocol used to protect sensitive data such as credit card numbers over the internet.
- Delete: “You cannot be made to surrender data you do not have”. Often big organizations and even home users leave traces of their browsing behavior on their computers, the EFF advises to remove them as soon as possible.
- Reveal: Did you receive a government warrant or request to access your logs or data? tell the whole world about it.
- Resist: The EFF has detailed practical ways in which technology companies can defend against warrants to seize customer’s data.