Fight for the Future Leads Congress Blackout Campaign to Protest the Patriot Act

congress-blackout

Three key provisions within the Patriot Act will expire at the stroke of midnight on Sunday. The Senate needs 60 votes in order to provide an extension or renew the provisions past June 1st. Section 215 of the measure is particularly controversial in that it allows the National Security Agency (NSA) to collect data from Americans’ phone records.

Fight for the Future is leading an internet campaign wherein 14,000+ websites will be blocking access to Congress’ IP addresses, redirecting that traffic to the blackout protest page where they will see the following message:

You have conducted mass surveillance of everyone illegally and are now on record for trying to enact those programs into law. You have presented Americans with the false dichotomy of reauthorizing the PATRIOT Act or passing the USA Freedom Act. The real answer is to end all authorities used to conduct mass surveillance. Until you do, thousands of web sites have blocked your access, and more are joining every day.

The campaign is coordinated by the Internet Defense League, an organization that has been instrumental in defending net neutrality and protesting the SOPA/PIPA censorship bills.

Self-hosted WordPress site owners who want to participate in protesting the renewal of the Patriot Act can install the Internet Defense League Cat Signal plugin from WordPress.org. It includes the blackout script as well as a dismissable notice to site visitors, asking them to urge Congress to sunset the Patriot Act.

cat-signal-modal

The Cat Signal plugin will link your site up to the Internet Defense League’s online activist group. When an important bill is up for action, it will automatically enqueue the JavaScript required to post a notice on your site. It also includes an options page for selecting the pages where it should be active and for setting the notice as a banner or a modal.

If sunsetting the Patriot Act is important to you, the Cat Signal plugin is the easiest way to get your WordPress site into the protest. Alternatively, you can manually add the JavaScript to join the Congress Blackout that will block Congress’ IP addresses.

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5 Comments


  1. There should be a campaign worldwide against mass surveillance. Not all of us are Americans. I live in Canada. No American politician will listen to me right now.

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  2. Someone should make a plugin to enqueue the blackoutcongress on self hosted WordPress.org sites. Would be a simple 5 or so lines of code…

    Maybe I’ll find some free time tonight and meet that Sunday deadline ;]

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      1. Thanks! That is useful for participating in this particular campaign. I just found out that the Cat Signal plugin also includes the Blackout script, although it’s not easy to test if you’re not accessing a site from a Congress IP address.

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