Today on the net: nationwide protests against the Prism program planned in the US; online tributes to the 19 fire fighters who lost their lives in the Arizona wildfire; and messages of support for Nelson Mandela on Twitter’s video sharing service, Vine.
USA: nationwide anti-NSA spying protests on July 4
Rallies are being organized across the United States for this Thursday the 4th July, Independence Day, to protest against the electronic surveillance program operated by the US National Security Agency. The movement is called “Restore the Fourth” and is calling for an end to all programs that violate the 4th amendment, the part of the bill of rights which should protect citizens from unreasonable raids, searches and seizures by the authorities.
The idea of holding a day of nationwide protests came from users of community site Reddit, outraged by the revelations made by former NSA consultant Edward Snowden. Numerous Internet companies and digital privacy activist groups have added their backing.
The site "Fight for the Future" is encouraging web users to protest on the streets, and also on the web, by adding a banner to their website or profile page, by flooding social networks with anti-NSA messages or by helping finance this television ad condemning the illegal nature of the mass surveillance system run by the American authorities.
The Mozilla foundation is directing people to this online petition called "Stop Watching Us" which urges Congress to launch a parliamentary enquiry to reveal the extent of the spying to the public. The document was posted online last month and now has over 530 000 signatures.
US mourns death of Arizona firefighters
American web users have been mourning the deaths of 19 firefighters who were killed on Sunday as they battled flames in the small town of Yarnell Hill in the state of Arizona which is currently experiencing major fires across the region. The firefighters were all members of the same elite unit: the Granite Mountain Hotshots.
Messages have been pouring onto social networks since the weekend, praising the bravery of the 19 firefighters who sacrificed their lives to save others. Web users have posting under the hashtags #RIP19Heroes or #YarnellFire paying tribute to these heroes, expressing their sorrow and voicing the support for the firefighters loved ones.
Web users can also post messages of condolence to friends and family of the 19 firefighters to this site, created in partnership with a local newspaper, the Arizona Republic. The deaths have bought an outpouring of tributes from all over the world, and the platform is already displaying thousands of messages.
A number of online fundraising appeals have been started to provide practical help for the victims’ families, to help them, if only financially, in the difficult times that lie ahead.
A great sense of sadness and strong emotions on the web, and also of course in Prescott where the fallen firefighters were based and where people have set up a memorial, as we can see in these online images, to honour the men who lost their lives fighting the wildfire.
Now trending on social networks
Social networkers have launched the #HugforMandela campaign on Twitter’s video sharing service Vine, in support of the former South African president who has been hospitalized in Pretoria since the 8th June, amid grave concerns for his health. Web users have been coming up with all sorts of creative ways to express their sympathy towards Nelson Mandela and pay tribute to his lifelong fight for justice and equality.
The White House joins Instagram
Already highly active online, the White House has stepped up its presence on social networks, and started an account on photo and video sharing platform Instagram last week. The page already has tens of thousands of followers, updating them in images with all the latest from the president of the United States.
Video of the day
Organizers of the European Tour Challenge have posted this video online to promote the golfing competition currently underway. We see the Northern Irish golf champ Rory McIlroy, take on a robot, well a computer controlled hitting device, in a precision competition… an epic combat between man and machine, available to view on all good video sharing platforms…