Ripley: Mark Zuckerberg Can Stop the NSA – Will He?

Mark Zuckerberg , Facebook

During this week’s episode of The Shill Report, Chris, Joe, and I talked about the abrupt shutdown of Lavabit. Ladar Levison explained the shutdown in a message on the company’s website: “I have been forced to make a difficult decision — to become complicit in crimes against the American people or walk away from nearly ten years of hard work by shutting down Lavabit.”

Lavabit is a cloud based service with approximately 350,000 customers that is known for providing secure email to their clients. Thought to be among the subscribers is NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. Levison rejected a court order from the US government to conduct surveillance on its customers. Rather than comply with demands for user data as Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Yahoo, Apple, Verizon and many others have; Levinson shut the entire service down.

This led to an important question during the podcast: What would happen if Mark Zuckerberg shut down Facebook for 24 hours in protest of the NSA’s domestic spying program?

Can you imagine how long it would take for the Capitol Hill switchboards to melt down? Zuckerberg could spark a grassroots movement to stop the illegal surveillance of American citizens and restore the 4th amendment rights that our Constitution guarantees each and every one of us. That’s an amazing upside for only 24 hours of downtime.

While Zuckerberg has semantically denied that the NSA has direct access to the Facebook servers, the world knows that its Facebook data is consumed by the NSA. The leaked PRISM program documents outline how the data is seized. A recent story on XKEYSCORE confirmed that Facebook chats and messages – along with majority of anyone’s online activity – is also collected and indexed by the intelligence community.

To move the conversation forward, the We Are Libertarians team has created a Facebook event on the We Are Libertarian page that calls for Mark Zuckerberg to shut down Facebook for 24 hours in protest of the NSA domestic spying programs. Being compelled by law to comply with an illegal court order is no longer a defense that the tech giants can stand behind. If the little guy – like Lavabit – can do it, why can’t they?

Please share this event with your Facebook friends and help us spread the word that there ARE ways that the tech giants can protect our privacy.

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Ryan Ripley is a 34 year old husband and father of two living in Fort Wayne, Indiana. He graduated from Indiana Wesleyan University with a BS in Business Administration. Prior to joining the Libertarian Party, Ryan unsuccessfully ran for a seat on the Marshall County Council in 2010 and on the Plymouth Common Council in 2011 as a Democrat. During that time he also served as the acting Chairman of the Marshall County Democratic Party. Ryan is on Twitter (@ryanripley) and can be reached at

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