The Elephant in the Room: Mass Surveillance

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Governments from more than 100 countries gather this week in The Hague at the Global Conference on Cyberspace to talk about a free and secure Internet. But a free and secure Internet can never exist as long as these governments continue their mass surveillance practices.

Free Press Unlimited, Bits of Freedom, ARTICLE 19, La Quadrature du Net</>, Panoptykon and Greenhost make a call to governments to discuss Mass Surveillance during the Global Conference on Cyberspace (GCCS2015) happening this week in The Hague. Mass surveillance is the "Elephant in the Room" at this conference.

Since the revelations of whistle blower Edward Snowden it is a known fact the Internet has been turned into the largest mass surveillance system ever seen. This is not only a direct violation of human rights, it is also a threat to free and democratic societies worldwide and sets a horrible example to other nations.

The right to privacy is a fundamental human right. It allows us to access information, form opinions and share them without having to fear someone is watching our every move. It allows journalists to communicate in private with their sources and is crucial for an informed public debate and a democratic society.

Governments can no longer allow mass surveillance to remain the elephant in the room. This practice needs to be brought to an end and governments must be held accountable to their human rights obligations.

We demand that the international human rights framework will be applied to the technical architecture of communications and surveillance systems, and that the Necessary and Proportionate principles will be respected.