Thousands of websites block Congress in Patriot Act protest

Thousands of websites are blocking Congress’s access to their sites in a show of force to protest the Patriot Act.

Led by the online activist group Fight for the Future, more than 10,000 sites have added code that redirects any visitors from Internet protocol (IP) addresses from Congress away from their site and towards a protest page.

“Congress: This is a blackout,” the site reads. “We are blocking your access until you end mass surveillance laws.”

Instead of renewing or reforming the three expiring provisions of the Patriot Act, the activist group wants Congress to let them expire.

“The real answer is to end all authorities used to conduct mass surveillance,” Fight for the Future says on the protest page. “Until you do, thousands of websites have blocked your access, and more are joining every day.” 

Fight for the Future is known for such stunts as launching a blimp to oppose fast-track and the Internet meme Grumpy Cat behind a plane to celebrate federal regulators’ tough stance on net neutrality. 

Unless the Senate acts by Sunday at midnight, three parts of the Patriot Act — including the controversial Section 215, which the National Security Agency (NSA) has used to collect millions of Americans’ phone records — will die. Most lawmakers have been scrambling to prevent that from happening, but so far they have been unable to reach a deal that has the support of the 60 senators necessary to overcome procedural hurdles.