Perhaps this is by design, but today marks not one, but two Internet-related awareness days. One is about privacy and has probably gotten more attention than the other, which is about the National Security Agency’s data spying programs. It really makes sense, as safety and privacy are intertwined these days.
Microsoft, Twitter, Google launch privacy campaigns
Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT), Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR) and Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) have all written about their privacy awareness campaigns on their blogs. Microsoft wants consumers to just “Do 1 thing” to be safer online today. The company launched a new website called Safer Online today, which provides a place for users to tell others what they’re doing to keep themselves safe on the Internet. Some suggestions include locking mobile devices, using strong passwords, only doing sensitive transactions over secured networks and researching your online reputation.
Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG)’s participation is similar to Microsoft’s, as it launched its Good To Know Web safety site today as well.
Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR) is taking a little bit different tactic for Safer Internet Day by working with anti-bullying organizations. That makes a lot of sense in light of all the bullying which has been happening on the micro-blogging site. Just yesterday, the creator of Flappy Birds received death threats over Twitter for taking down the popular game, although there have been numerous reports of others being targeted over the site as well.
Fighting back against the NSA’s data spying
Today is also The Day We Fight Back, and a number of non-profit organizations and smaller companies are taking part in this initiative. It is aimed to bring more awareness to the NSA’s spying programs and try to fight back against them. The programs have drawn plenty of attention since Edward Snowden blew the whistle on those programs last year. Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT), Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR) and Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) are just three of many technology companies which have been pushing the U.S. government for greater transparency about its requests for user information.
Under this program, websites are able to sign up to have banner ads for The Day We Fight Back placed on their sites. Those banner sites urge people to contact lawmakers and make their voices heard. Not too many major sites have signed up—or at least I haven’t run across any of these banners. I did see one on Reddit‘s home page, however, as the site signed up to participate some time ago. Also there is a discussion thread on this topic on the site. Posters talked about contacting their legislators’ offices in an attempt to call attention to privacy issues and take a stand.
Also the ACLU, Greenpeace and other well-known non-profits have signed up.