Google, Edward Snowden Join “Reset The Net”

Edward SnowdenPhoto by AK Rockefeller

In a statement delivered through his lawyer today, Snowden showed his expected support for Reset The Net, a movement that his revelations essentially created.

Snowden’s statement

“One year ago, we learned that the internet is under surveillance, and our activities are being monitored to create permanent records of our private lives — no matter how innocent or ordinary those lives might be.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,” he wrote.

“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,” he said.

“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. Join us on 5 June, and don’t ask for your privacy. Take it back,” he continued.

Google shames ISPs

These remarks were made today following Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) (NASDAQ:GOOG)’s call for ISPs to continue the encryption that the company has been default providing 2010. However, encryption only works if ISPs provide their own encryption. Yesterday, Google called out a number of Internet service providers including the nation’s largest, Comcast. Google said that during a sample day last month, only 1% of the messages sent via Gmail to comcast.net addresses remained encrypted. Google was equally critical of French ISP Orange who encrypted none of the emails sent by Gmail.

Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) (NASDAQ:GOOG) also pointed out that Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT)’s Hotmail only encrypted about half of the messages that were sent by Gmail. Some may find irony in Google calling out others, while Google is itself encrypting email messages, but it is only doing so after it scans emails in order to provide more targeted advertisements to users.

Within hours of Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) (NASDAQ:GOOG)’s criticism of Comcast, the Internet Service Provider and cable company responded. Comcast Corporation (NASDAQ:CMCSA) (NASDAQ:CMCSK) spokesman Charlie Douglas said the company is testing encryption and would begin using it more broadly on customers’ email “within a matter of weeks.” He said Comcast is “very aggressive about this.”

“Both sides of an email exchange need to support encryption for it to work; Gmail can’t do it alone. Our data shows that approximately 40 to 50 percent of emails sent between Gmail and other email providers aren’t encrypted. Many providers have turned on encryption, and others have said they’re going to, which is great news. As they do, more and more emails will be shielded from snooping,” Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) (NASDAQ:GOOG) said in a blog post.

The company also announced that it was working on an end-to-end encryption plug-in for its Chrome browser.

“For people looking for even stronger email security, end-to-end encryption is a good option – but it’s been hard to use. So today we’re making available the source code for End-to-End, a Chrome extension. It’s currently in testing, and once it’s ready for general use it will make this technology easier for those who choose to use it.”

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About the Author

Brendan Byrne
While studying economics, Brendan found himself comfortably falling down the rabbit hole of restaurant work, ultimately opening a consulting business and working as a private wine buyer. On a whim, he moved to China, and in his first week following a triumphant pub quiz victory, he found himself bleeding on the floor based on his arrogance. The same man who put him there offered him a job lecturing for the University of Wales in various sister universities throughout the Middle Kingdom. While primarily lecturing in descriptive and comparative statistics, Brendan simultaneously earned an Msc in Banking and International Finance from the University of Wales-Bangor. He's presently doing something he hates, respecting French people. Well, two, his wife and her mother in the lovely town of Antigua, Guatemala. To contact Brendan or give him an exclusive, please contact him at [email protected]

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