Today, February 11th is “The Day We Fight Back”, when Internet users around the world will stand together for our digital freedoms, in the face of government spying digging deeper into our lives than we ever could have imagined.
Protection International supports “The Day We Fight Back” – a day of online protest against mass surveillance on the Internet, the invasion of our privacy, and the erosion of accountability. Because mass surveillance, often in the guise of anti-terrorism measures, has opened the door wide to allow the pushing back of people who defend human rights. Too often, it results in unchecked interference with the fundamental rights and freedoms enshrined in the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders. In particular:
- the right to seek, obtain, receive, and hold information relating to human rights
- the right to unhindered access to, and communication with, non-governmental and intergovernmental organizations
- the right to develop and discuss new human rights ideas and principles, and to advocate their acceptance.
Surveillance is too often the threshold for violence, threats, retaliation, adverse discrimination, and other undue pressure against people who stand up for human rights. These are exactly the phenomena that the State is meant to protect HRDs against – as that same UN Declaration on HRDs spells out. This is why Protection International, like its friends at Thai Netizen Network and many others, joins the fight against mass surveillance. We add our voices to the request that our governments and elected representatives protect the Internet and our rights and endorse the Principles that protect privacy rights.