It’s been a year since the first National Security Agency documents leaked by Edward Snowden fundamentally changed the way people view government’s role in balancing privacy and safety. The impact was felt across the world, with greater public awareness of surveillance and more energy in civil society to mobilize. And yet, the public policy landscape itself has changed very little and the threats to privacy and security are just as strong.
Today, we are announcing two efforts that will contribute to the global movement to strengthen Internet security and protect the open Web:
- Reset the Net — Mozilla’s participation in the ‘Reset the Net’ day of action to improve security against widespread surveillance.
- Mozilla’s Cyber Security Delphi — A new research project with security leaders to better understand threats to security on the Internet.
Reset the Net – A Day of Action to Improve Security and Protect Against Mass Surveillance
Mozilla is proud to join with Fight for the Future and many other organizations in Reset the Net, a day of action to stop mass surveillance by building proven security into the everyday Internet. We encourage all Mozillians to make our collective voices heard by signing the petition, sharing it with our networks, and adopting stronger privacy and security tools and practices.
Firefox is already made under the principle that security and privacy are fundamental and must not be treated as optional. On Firefox, we’ve included several security and privacy features:
- Website ID — A site identity button that allows for users to quickly find out if the website they are viewing is encrypted, if it is verified, who owns the website, and who verified it. This helps users avoid malicious websites that are trying to get you to provide personal information.
- Built-in phishing and malware protection.
- Private browsing.
- Lightbeam — A powerful add-on with interactive visualizations that enables users to see the first and third party sites you interact with on the Web.
The Cyber Security Delphi — A New Research Initiative to Develop the Security Agenda
By all accounts, threats to the free and open Web are intensifying. According to a survey released last week by Consumer Reports, one in seven U.S. consumers received a data breach notice in 2013, and yet 62% say they did nothing to address it. Policy reform, on its own, has proven insufficient to battle the barrage of data breaches that result in an insecure Web and, for too long, the discussion of security has been dominated by a one-sided perspective that pits risk management against improving security and privacy.
In response, Mozilla is creating a path forward through the Cyber Security Delphi. As part of the Delphi research and recommendation initiative, Mozilla will bring together the best minds in security to understand threat vectors to online security and develop a concrete agenda to address them. To guide the project, we’ve recruited an expert advisory board, including: Kelly Caine (Clemson), Matthew Green (Johns Hopkins), Ed Felten (Princeton), Chris Soghoian (ACLU), and Danny McPherson (Verisign).
We anticipate recruiting approximately 50 participants from across 10 professional disciplines for the study. Ideal composition for the study would include specialists in computer security, network security, cryptography, data security, application security, as well as professionals from industry and public sector organizations responsible for addressing threats and vulnerabilities associated with cyber security.
This Delphi process will result in substantive recommendations to improve the security of the Internet. Beyond this, it will level the playing field for all sectors, including the digital rights community, and enable us to create an affirmative agenda for reform. We expect to deliver the final report and recommendation in the Fall.
Thank you to The MacArthur Foundation for supporting this important effort.
Help us Advance and Protect the Free and Open Web.
The threats to the free and open Web are not academic. What’s at stake is an Internet that fuels economic growth, provides a level playing field and opportunity for all, and enables people to freely express themselves.
While the arc of the Web is pointing in the wrong direction, it doesn’t need to be. We believe that a global grassroots movement can hold our leaders accountable to the principles of protecting the open Web as a resource for all. We believe that this movement will rise from the bottom up, and will be led by a stronger set of civil society organizations all over the world. And we believe that the Mozilla community as makers of the Web will be on the leading edge of the movement.
Fighting for the open Web will be a marathon, not a sprint, and will require many voices. In this spirit, you’ll be hearing a lot from Mozilla and many other organizations as we work together to build this global movement.
We want to invite you to join the discussion and keep updated on progress as we fight for the free and open web by signing up at our Net Policy page at mzl.la/netpolicy.
Dave Steer is Director of Advocacy at Mozilla Foundation