If you are on the internet or use a mobile phone, odds are you are being followed by governments through wide sweeping mass surveillance programs. This isn’t just part of life in the 21st century, it’s illegal and a human rights violation. Watch the video >
Amnesty International’s #UnfollowMe campaign calls on governments to ban mass surveillance and unlawful intelligence sharing. All countries should have strong legal safeguards to protect people against unlawful interception of their communications and their private lives.
Every border you cross, every purchase you make, every call you dial, every cell phone tower you pass, friend you keep, article you write, site you visit… is in the hands of a system whose reach is unlimited but whose safeguards are not.'
Edward Snowden, CITIZENFOUR
In June 2013, Edward Snowden leaked thousands of classified National Security Agency (NSA) documents revealing the sweeping surveillance programs run by the NSA, UK Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), and the “Five Eyes” spying and intelligence-sharing agreements between the US, UK, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand. These programs spy on most of the world’s digital communications.
The Snowden revelations proved beyond a doubt that governments have systematically violated their citizens’ rights to privacy on a global scale, and in turn placed other rights at risk. Private data can be used to target journalists, persecute activists, profile and disciminate against minorties, and crack down on free speech. The chill effect is all too real: when people know they are being monitored, they may be less willing to communicate freely.
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Increasingly states try to build firewalls around digital communications. Iran, China and Viet Nam have all tried to develop systems that enable them to control access to digital information. In India’s northern Kashmir region, mobile Internet and communications are suspended in response to any unrest. Even Amnesty international continually has to find new ways to stop our website from being blocked in China.
Governments are also using dangerous and sophisticated technology to read activists and journalists’ private emails and remotely turn on their computer’s camera or microphone to secretly record their activities. In 2014, Amnesty helped launch ‘Detekt’ - a simple tool that allows activists to scan their devices for surveillance spyware.
7 ways the world has changed thanks to Edward Snowden (5 June 2015)
How technology helped us expose war crimes in Nigeria (4 June 2015)
Mass surveillance: Time to heed the voices in the wilderness (13 April 2015)
Easy guide to mass surveillance (18 March 2015)
5 reasons why we should care about mass surveillance (25 Feb 2015)