Along with the other free peoples of the Internet, we’ve been discussing our reactions to PRISM, and whether and how U.S. — and global — citizens might be able to organize against this unprecedented digital spying.
There are more questions than answers at the moment, and there’s an enormous challenge of confronting a massive entity such as the National Security Agency with people power. But here are five things you can do that could prove more productive than petitioning the White House to respond. Thanks primarily to MIT’s Sasha Costanza-Chock for the roundup:
1. Encrypt yourself
See the Guardian Project’s Android apps, Security in a Box, and Tor. If you have the skills, go further: Build tools/better UI/How To Guides/visibility to encourage more people to encrypt themselves, too.
2. Support calls for a congressional committee to investigate
3. Organize, or participate in, a protest
People are starting to plan for these in various locations; July 4 is a good date. Here’s one in D.C.
4. Learn more about the history of U.S. surveillance programs, and organizing/resistance against them
See COINTELPRO‘s spying on “subversives” such as Martin Luther King, Jr. It’s actually quite helpful to understand how these programs have been specifically used against every important domestic social movement, rather than just being afraid of the possibilities.
5. Generate attention and a culture of resistance
If you blog, blog; if you like memes, make and circulate memes. Culture is a weapon, and satire has always been part of transformative social movements. Of course, there are things you can do to more effectively link cultural production to other forms of action (like, literally, link to other forms of action).
Matt Stempeck is a Research Assistant at the Center for Civic Media at the MIT Media Lab. He has spent his career at the intersection of technology and social change, mostly in Washington, D.C. He has advised numerous non-profits, startups, and socially responsible businesses on online strategy. Matt’s interested in location, games, online tools, and other fun things. He’s on Twitter @mstem.
This post originally appeared on the MIT Center for Civic Media blog.