Academics from all over the world have joined hands in form of a protest against mass surveillance.
There has been an increasing uproar about privacy encroachments; thanks to many such revelations that have highlighted the degree of surveillance a person can face. To counter this unprecedented level of surveillance, academicians around the world have come together in signing a declaration against intrusion of people’s privacy.
Academics against mass surveillance is the brainchild of four colleagues from the Institute for Information Law at the University of Amsterdam, Nico van Eijk, Beate Roessler, Frederik Zuiderveen Borgesius and Manon Oostveen, in response to ex-NSA tech Edward Snowden’s disclosure about large-scale surveillance by governments (http://www.academicsagainstsurveillance.net/) as reported by Wired.
The declaration advocates upholding the right to privacy, which is a fundamental right protected by international treaties as well as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the European Convention on Human Rights. The group feels that restrictions on privacy would mean restrictions on freedom to express their opinions and seek/receive information.
The declaration demands end to intelligence agencies’ dig into people’s internet use, phone call details, financial details, email messages, Facebook entries, and much more.
The declaration emphasizes that it understands the need for national security, public safety and crime detection and prevention; however, it is against the uncontrolled surveillance practices that violate fundamental rights and also jeopardizes democracy largely. The text requests for transparent and accountable spying practices seeking protection for everyone’s fundamental rights, privacy and freedoms.
The text has received immense support from academics around the world with countries including US, UK, Turkey, Spain, Japan, Germany and Austria. The declaration demands end to intelligence agencies’ dig into people’s internet use, phone call details, financial details, email messages, Facebook entries, and much more.
As pointed out by Zuiderveen Borgesius, the declaration is more of an organized consensus against the unfettered surveillance which the academics are seeking to stop.
A rally, Stop Watching Us, was also organized along the similar theme on 26th October, 2013 (https://rally.stopwatching.us/) which was attended by thousands and included eminent academics, politicians, whistleblowers and activists. The day signifies anniversary of the signing of the USA Patriot Act.