More than 500 of the world’s best authors, including five Nobel Prize winners, have signed a petition condemning the UN for widespread surveillance of citizens.
Margaret Atwood, Don DeLillo, Hanif Kureishi, Ian McEwan, and Arundhati Roy are among the signatories alleging that snooping through the digital communications of millions in the search for illegal behavior is making everyone a de facto suspect. The petition calls on the UN to create laws to protect digital rights and allow citizens to decide how much of their data can be retained by anyone. The key quote is:
A person under surveillance is no longer free; a society under surveillance is no longer a democracy. To maintain any validity, our democratic rights must apply in virtual as in real space.
The move comes as continuing leaks reveal that the NSA’s sweep of international cell phone movements may be capturing data on as much as 9% of the world’s population. Yesterday we learned that some of the worlds biggest digital companies have petitioned Barack Obama’s administration to curtail widespread surveillance.