Index on Censorship has condemned the mass surveillance and collection of private data through the US’s Prism programme. Mass surveillance is a major chill to free expression and so undermines the right to free speech as well as the right to privacy. Index calls upon the UK, the EU and the US to protect the privacy and free speech rights of their citizens and end the mass online surveillance of individuals around the world.
Index also calls on EU Presidents Barroso and van Rompuy to stand up against mass surveillance on the scale seen in the Prism programme and to stand by the EU’s position against mass surveillance (the EU’s Cybersecurity Strategy states “increased global connectivity should not be accompanied by censorship or mass surveillance”).
Index CEO Kirsty Hughes said:
‘National security should not be used by governments to justify the mass surveillance of their citizens. This is not about the targeted surveillance of criminals but surveillance of private citizens on a massive scale. It is the kind of free speech violation we expect from Iran and China, not a democracy like the US.’
‘The PRISM scandal shows that tech companies’ transparency reports are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to data surveillance by governments.’
Caught in the Web: How free are we online?
The internet: free open space, wild wild west, or totalitarian state? However you view the web, in today’s world it is bringing both opportunities and threats for free expression — and ample opportunity for government surveillance