562 Top Writers: Time for 'Bill of Digital Rights'
Authors from 81 countries cite surveillance concerns
By Matt Cantor, Newser User
Posted Dec 10, 2013 6:32 AM CST
British playwright Tom Stoppard is among the authors calling for a 'digital bill of rights.'   (AP Photo/Sang Tan, File)

(Newser) – Yesterday, these guys came together to call on the world to limit spying; today, the globe's leading writers are taking up the mantle. Some 562 authors, from Margaret Atwood to Don DeLillo to Ian McEwan, are following tech firms' anti-surveillance push with one of their own: They're calling on the UN to create a global bill of digital rights, the Guardian reports. Current snooping, as revealed by Edward Snowden, makes everyone a suspect, say the authors, who hail from 81 countries and also include Kazuo Ishiguro, Jeffrey Eugenides, Dave Eggers, and Tom Stoppard.

Their petition, which doesn't specifically mention the NSA or Britain's GCHQ, says humans have the "fundamental" right to "remain unobserved and unmolested." It notes that "a person under surveillance is no longer free; a society under surveillance is no longer a democracy. To maintain any validity, our democratic rights must apply in virtual as in real space." The authors urge the creation of a digital rights convention that governments would "sign and adhere to." Notes Juli Zeh, a writer behind the effort: "We all have to stand up now, and we as writers do what we can do best: Use the written word to intervene publicly." In agreement? You can sign their petition here.

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Showing 3 of 8 comments
Dec 12, 2013 4:38 PM CST
I thought that Tom Stoppard dude was Bill Clinton after a rainstorm 20 years from now
Dec 11, 2013 3:11 AM CST
sheesh that guy looks like he just came off a four day drunk by tightening his 60's tie up his 60's shirt.
Dec 10, 2013 12:22 PM CST
Pandora has opened the box. The only way to get back to humanity being unobserved, is to go back to pre-technology times thru catastrophe. Better learn to be transparent and involved in your government, because our only hope will be in the good will of those watching.