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05.11.2013 Statement of Concern on Disproportionate Surveillance

Open government civil society organisations concerned about disproportionate surveillance by governments

Aktion Freiheit statt Angst, Freedom Not Fear, has subscribed to a protest letter of a great scale of NGOs from all over the world.

Statement of Concern on Disproportionate Surveillance

We, the undersigned civil society organisations, affirm our deep commitment to the goals of the Open Government Partnership, which in its declaration endorsed “more transparent, accountable, responsive and effective government” founded on the principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

We join other civil society organisations, human rights groups, academics and ordinary citizens in expressing our grave concern over allegations that governments around the world, including many OGP members, have been routinely intercepting and retaining the private communications of entire populations, in secret, without particularised warrants and with little or no meaningful oversight. Such practices allegedly include the routine exchange of “foreign” surveillance data, bypassing domestic laws that restrict governments’ ability to spy on their own citizens.

Such practices erode the checks and balances on which accountability depends, and have a deeply chilling effect on freedom of expression, information and association, without which the ideals of open government have no meaning.

As Brazil’s President, Dilma Rousseff, recently said at the United Nations, “In the absence of the right to privacy, there can be no true freedom of expression and opinion, and therefore no effective democracy.”

Activities that restrict the right to privacy, including communications surveillance, can only be justified when they are prescribed by law, are necessary to achieve a legitimate aim, and are proportionate to the aim pursued.[1] Without firm legislative and judicial checks on the surveillance powers of the executive branch, and robust protections for the media and public interest whistleblowers, abuses can and will occur.

We call on all governments, and specifically OGP members, to:

  • recognise the need to update understandings of existing privacy and human rights law to reflect modern surveillance technologies and techniques.
  • commit in their OGP Action Plans to complete by October 2014 a review of national laws, with the aim of defining reforms needed to regulate necessary, legitimate and proportional State involvement in communications surveillance; to guarantee freedom of the press; and to protect whistleblowers who lawfully reveal abuses of state power.
  • commit in their OGP Action Plans to transparency on the mechanisms for surveillance, on exports of surveillance technologies, aid directed towards implementation of surveillance technologies, and agreements to share citizen data among states.

[1] International Principles on the Application of Human Rights to Communications Surveillance (

If you wish to add your name to the list of signatories, please do so using comment form below. Substantive comments should be sent by email to


ACCESS Info Europe
Acción Ciudadana, Guatemala
ActiveCitizen, Ireland
Africa Center for Open Governance, Kenya
Africa Freedom of Information Centre, Uganda
Aktion Freiheit statt Angst e.V. (Freedom Not Fear), Germany
Anti-Corruption Trust of Southern Africa (ACT), Southern Africa
Association EPAS, Romania
Asociación para una Sociedad Más Justa, Honduras
Bolo Bhi, Paikstan
Center for Effective Government, USA
Center for Independent Journalism, Romania
Centre for Law and Democracy, Canada
Center for Peace Studies, Croatia
Center for Public Interest Advocacy, Bosnia Herzegovina
Centro Internacional para Investigaciones en Derechos Humanos, Guatemala
Centro for Public Integrity, Mozambique
Charity & Security Network, USA
CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation, South Africa
Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC), Nigeria
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), USA
Commonwealth Human Rights (CHRI)
Corruption Watch, UK
Digital Rights Foundation, Pakistan
e-Governance Academy, Estonia
East European Development Institute, Poland
Economic Research Center, Azerbaijan
Freedom of Information Center, Armenia
Freedom of Information Forum, Austria (FOIAustria)
Freedom of Information Foundation, Russia
Fundar, Center for Research and Analysis, Mexico
GESOC, Mexico
Global Human Rights Communications, India
Global Integrity, USA, Switzerland
GONG, Croatia
Hong Kong In-Media, Hong Kong
Hungarian Civil Liberties Union
Independent Journalism Center, Moldova
Inesc, Brazil
Institute for Development of Freedom of Information (IDFI) , Georgia
International Records Management Trust, UK
Integrity Action, UK
IT for Change, India
Luridicum Remedium, Czech Republic
Media Rights Agenda, Nigeria
Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan (Association for the Empowerment of Workers and Peasants), India
NATO Watch, UK
Obong Denis Udo-Inyang Foundation, Nigeria
OneWorld – Platform for Southeast Europe (OWPSEE), Europe
Open Democracy Advice Centre, South Africa
Open Australia Foundation
Open Knowledge Foundation, UK
Open Knowledge Foundation Ireland
Open Rights Group, UK
Open the, USA
Oxfam International
Paradigm Initiative, Nigeria
Paraguayan Association of Information Lechnology Law, Paraguay
Privacy and Access Council of Canada — Conseil du Canada de l’Accès et la vie Privée
Privacy International, UK
PRO Media, Macedonia
Project On Government Oversight, USA
Public Concern at Work, UK
Publish What You Pay Indonesia
Request Initiative, UK
Sahkar Social welfare Association, Pakistan
Samuelson-Glushko Canadian Internet Policy & Public Interest Clinic (CIPPIC), University of Ottawa
Shaaub for Democracy Culture Foundation, Iraq
Social Research and Development Center, Yemen
Soros Foundation Romania, Romania
TEDIC, Paraguay
Transparencia por Colombia
Transparency International Armenia
Transparency International Bosnia and Herzegovina
Transparency International Indonesia
Transparency International Ireland
Transparency International Macedonia
Unwanted Witness, Uganda
Water Governance Institute (WGI), Uganda
World Wide Web Foundation
Zenu Network, Cameroon

Addition (in late December 2013):

Access to Information Programme, Bulgaria
Advocacy and Legal Advice Centre,
African Egyptian Human Rights Organisation
Aktion Freiheit statt Angst, Germany
Armenia Freedom of Information Forum,
Austria (FOIAustria) Fundar,
Bosnia Herzegovina Independent Journalism Center,
Brazilian Society for Knowledge Management (SBGC)
Center for Research and Analysis,
Centre for budget monitoring and citizen participation, Netherlands
Citizens United to Promote Peace & Democracy in Liberia
Cyprus EU Association
Development Dynamics, Nigeria
Digital Courage, Germany
Diritto di Sapere, Italy
East European Development Institute, Ukraine
Foundation Open Society (FOSM), Macedonia
GAPAFOT of Central African Republic
Ghana Anti-Corruption Coalition
India NATO Watch,
Initiative für Netzfreiheit, Austria
Institute for Democracy 'Societas Civilis'-Skopje (IDSCS), Macedonia
Institute for Development of Freedom of Information (IDFI), Georgia
Mexico GESOC,
Mexico IEEPP,
Moldova Freedom of Information Center,
Nicaragua Media Rights Agenda,
Nigeria MKSS,
Nigeria Open Knowledge Foundation Open Rights Group,
Open Knowledge Finland
Open Knowledge Foundation, Ireland
Open Ministry, Finland
Professionals For Humanity(PROFOH)
Programa Estudiantil Juventud Siglo XXI, A. C., Mexico City
Public Interest Advocacy Center (CPI), Bosnia
Romania Center for Independent Journalism,
Romania Centre for Law and Democracy,
Sri Lanka Association EPAS,
Stati Generali dell'Innovazione, Italy
Transparency International, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Transparency International, Indonesia
Transparency International, Ireland
Transparency International, Macedonia
UK Obong Denis Udo-Inyang Foundation,
UK Privacy and Access Council of Canada — Conseil du Canada de l’Accès et la vie Privée
University of Ottawa, Canada
USA Center for Public Interest Advocacy,
Whistleblower Network, Germany
Youth Association for Development (YAD) Pakistan

Aruna Roy, Founder, MKSS India and member of India’s National Advisory Council
Tim Berners-Lee
Vinod Rai, Former Comptroller and Auditor General, India
Rebecca MacKinnon
David Eaves
Dissanayake Dasanayaka
Dwight E. Hines, Ph.D
Ernesto Bellisario
Nikhil Dey
Petru Botnaru, freelance journalist, Moldova
Satbir Singh, Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative and Co-Chair, South Asian Right to Information Advocates Network
Shankar Singh
Sowmya Kidambi
TH Schee
Jacques Le Roux
Andrei Sambra
Christophe Dupriez
Sanjana Hattotuwa
Morgan Marquis-Boire
Bouziane Zaid
Pehr Mårtens
Matthew Landauer
Simon Ontoyin
Yinglee Tseng
Sonigitu Ekpe
Frank van Harmelen
Phil Coates
Josefina Aguilar
Juned Sonido
Fatima Cambronero
Jonathan Hipkiss
Lucie Perrault
Bouziane Zaid
Per Martens
Simon Ontoyin
Morgan Marquis-Boire
Leila Nachawati
Gbenga Sesan
Mohamed ElGohary
Sana Saleem
Renata Avila Pinto
Carolina Rossini
Phil Longhurst
Mark Townsend
Badouin Schombe
Sarah Copeland
Jelena Heštera
Brian Leekley
Katrin Verclas
Ian David
Judyth Mermelstein
Anna Myers

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Category[27]: Polizei&Geheimdienste Short-Link to this page:
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Tags: #Aktivitaet #FsaMitteilung #Brief #Protest #Polizei #Geheimdienste #Ueberwachung #Internet #Freiheit #NSA;PRISM #Tempora
Created: 2013-11-05 14:22:46
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