Last summer, the world learned how the Internet has been transformed into a tool of mass, indiscriminate surveillance. The sheer scale and invasiveness of the programs revealed by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden illustrate the dangers of allowing security agencies to operate under secret law without meaningful public oversight.
These dangers are not limited to the United States or the United Kingdom alone. As our lives become more connected through, and dependent on, the Internet, the right to privacy has never been under a greater global threat. As users, we need to ensure private space to communicate is protected.
Today, Internet users all around the world are getting the opportunity to send a signal rejecting mass surveillance. As part of the “Day We Fight Back” campaign, Human Rights Watch has joined Internet users, civil society groups, websites, and companies all around the world to oppose arbitrary and indiscriminate monitoring of our private lives.
There are events and actions happening all over the world as part of this campaign. Here‘s what you can do:
· Sign up at Day We Fight Back and attend an event on privacy and surveillance.
· Endorse the International Principles on the Application of Human Rights to Communications Surveillance. These Principles have been signed by more than 350 civil society organizations worldwide and provide a framework for understanding how to protect the right to privacy in the Internet age.
· Write to your government officials or members of parliament. Ask them to ensure your privacy is protected through stronger laws and policies as the technical capacity for pervasive electronic surveillance increases. Human Rights Watch has asked the UK to come clean about the scope of its surveillance. We have also asked President Obama to end indiscriminate collection of metadata and impose much stronger protections for the rights of global Internet users, no matter where they are located.
We should be able to log on or pick up our mobile phone without fear of invasive and indiscriminate intrusions into our private lives. Every voice counts in letting governments know: we won’t stand for mass surveillance.