Day of Action

June 7, 2014

Today I attended the Don't Spy On Us campaign's Day Of Action at Shoreditch Town Hall in London. I'm not sure how much actual action there was, but the talking was interesting.

Retrospective Day of Action drinking game: drink every time you hear the phrase "If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear." The spooks have a really good marketing department.

I don't write a lot on the internet any more - something I regret, actually. It can't even be because there are alternative places I am writing, because over the last couple of years I have been closing most of my social media accounts. I just share much less of myself online.

On the internet, nothing is ephemeral. Bruce Schneier says so. Choose your words carefully.

The thing about blogging is that it's so public. It's often tied to the writer's real-life identity. One of the valuable things about social media services is that they supposedly let you restrict who can read your words - the trade-off being that you must also grant access to advertisers, spies, cybercriminals...

Most memorable moments of the day:

  • Alan Rusbridger contrasting how he felt as a journalist working on the Snowden stories when in the US versus the UK - when in the UK, it's like "you know something bad is going to happen".
  • Being asked to leave a tiny meeting room, in order that I could show my ticket for the next talk, only to retake the seat where I had left my bag. Go bureaucracy!
  • Shami Chakrabarti leaving in her sunglasses like a rockstar.

In general, there were lots of famous people walking around as if they were normal. I was in the same room as Cory Doctorow, Jimmy Wales and Bruce Schneier at the same time.

Ahem, action (mostly for UK citizens):

  • Sign the petition.
  • Join the various groups who organized today (Open Rights Group, Liberty, Big Brother Watch, Privacy International, Article 19, English PEN).
  • Ask to meet your MP to talk about privacy at their next surgery - you can phone the House of Commons.
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