Websites Could Boycott UK Over Surveillance Law
Ashley Allen / 3 years ago
A new campaign, protesting the UK’s new Investigatory Powers Act, which gives the government access to 12 months’ worth of internet browsing data for every resident of the country – making it the most invasive mass surveillance program in Western civilisation – is asking websites to “block or restrict” UK access for a whole day on 12th December as a “push back” against the legislation. “Blackout UK” is the brainchild of 28-year-old software engineer Jude Burns, of Southampton. Burns wants dissenting UK citizens to help enlist the help of major sites, as well as contact their MP and sign the ever-rising government petition to repeal the law.
“Fundamentally I believe the internet should be free,” Burns told International Business Times. “It is one of the greatest tools that the ordinary person can use to make a difference in the world. I started the campaign to raise awareness about what the government is doing and to get people to push back.”
Blackout UK was inspired by a similar strategy used to protest the US Stop Online Privacy Act (SOPA), which saw the likes of Google, Wikipedia, and reddit restrict or deny access to their services in solidarity against the move.
“If we could generate enough interest and get a big company or internet service provider on board we could replace their website with an information page. Imagine if Google changed its background colour to support us, for example,” Burns added. “You would reach millions of people with information they simply are not getting from the papers or mainstream media. There was a similar campaign in which Wikipedia and many others restricted access in protest a few years ago and I was hoping for a similar effect.”
No websites have joined Blackout UK as of yet, but the protest movement only began a few days ago.
“I didn’t really expect a response this large so I am currently working on consolidating all the resources people are giving me,” Burns said. “This campaign really isn’t about me or what I’ve done, it’s the collective effort of thousands of people working together without knowing anything about each other except a common cause.”
If you want to get involved in Blackout UK, Burns has started a new subreddit for activists to coordinate.
Image courtesy of Elvert Barnes.