Edward Snowden — World Day Against Cyber Censorship 2016

Today, the government is giving police the power to monitor the private lives of all citizens. Every man, woman, child, boy, girl. No matter what you are, you’re innocent or not innocent, Government is watching everything you are doing. They intercept, analyze and store it for increasing periods of time.

If somebody who is programmed to see patterns of criminality looks at your data, they’re not going to find you – they’re going to find a criminal.
The fact that we have agencies like GCHQ looking through webcams in the bedrooms of people in the four walls of their homes, is frightening. The NSA is collecting billions of phone location records one day, so they know where she got on the bus, which was put to work, in which he slept and what other cell phones slept with you. We need to ask: “Do we live in a society in which we live totally naked in front of government, and are completely opaque to us?”
But it’s not about having nothing to hide, it’s about being you. It’s about being friends with who you want to be friends with, without worrying about what it looks like on paper or inside some private record in some dark government vault. It’s about realizing there’s a reason we close the bathroom door. There’s a reason we don’t want the police to have a video camera so they can watch us sitting in the bubble bath.

You could be the most innocent person in the world, but if somebody who is programmed to see patterns of criminality looks at your data, they’re not going to find you – they’re going to find a criminal. Having been an analyst sitting at the desks and targeting people using surveillance, I know that the information that’s in data banks can lead people very easily to the wrong conclusion – particularly when the people who are looking at this data are looking for terrorists and criminals.

We could have the most responsible government in the world today but tomorrow there could be a change. And in times of conflict, when we face serious foreign adversaries and the threat of terrorism, it’s even more important that we protect our values. Because it is in times of panic that we lose rights. We don’t want our politicians to think: “I’m concerned that people will say I didn’t do enough, so instead I did too much.”

They know where you got on the bus, where you went to work, where you slept and what other cell phones slept with you.
Edward Snowden

Suddenly we have an algorithmic enforcement, investigation and prediction of criminal activity.What we’ll find is that, when we realize that the person to our left or right got arrested for some incredibly minor infraction of law, we are going to rigidly avoid anything that could be considered controversial. There will be no free speech.

Privacy is for the powerless. Transparency is for the powerful. You don’t need to say why you want to be left alone by the state. It is the natural state of being that we are allowed in a free society to be free. If they want to restrict and monitor our activities it really changes the nature of human society.


Amnesty International has joined with AdBlock on the World Day Against Cyber Censorship to raise awareness about the crackdown on free speech across the world. AdBlock is a tool that helps web users to block unwanted ads, and on 12 March 2016 it will replace banner ads with content censors in certain countries wouldn’t want people to see. 

Source: amnesty

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