Mozilla backs hundreds of US-wide protests against NSA spying

Some of the biggest names in tech have backed a series of protests against the National Security Agency (NSA).

The Restore the Fourth movement - which was formed less than a month ago in the wake of the Prism scandal - aims to bring an end to the NSA's "unconstitutional surveillance" regime.

The organisation has set up around 100 protests across the US, taking place on 4 July in major cities such as New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco. An interactive map specifying the locations of the protests is available on the Restore the Fourth website.

Amongst the cause's supporters are Mozilla, Reddit and WordPress.

Mozilla has even established an online petition at stopwatching.us, which has attracted over half a million signatures. "We demand the U.S. Congress reveal the full extent of the NSA's spying programs," reads the site.

In addition to Restore the Fourth's physical protests, the Internet Defense League (IDL) has organised a simultaneous movement, where its members – including Mozilla, Reddit and WordPress - will display messages of support for the anti-NSA movement on their websites.

"The NSA programs that have been exposed are blatantly unconstitutional, and have a detrimental effect on free speech and freedom of press worldwide," said IDL's Tiffiniy Cheng. "You can't disregard people's privacy, invade their personal lives on a daily basis, and not expect them to fight back."

Restore the Fourth refers to the US constitution's fourth amendment, which reads, "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures."

This comes soon after news that James Clapper, the director of national intelligence, was forced to apologise for telling Congress in March that the NSA was not collecting data on millions of citizens. He said his statements at the time were "clearly erroneous."

The founder of the Internet, Sir Tim Berners-Lee, has been highly critical of the spying network, branding the NSA's activities "an intrusion on basic human rights that threatens the very foundations of a democratic society."