Powerful surveillance systems are strangling freedom of expression and interfering with the legitimate work of activists and non-governmental organizations.
Since former NSA analyst and whistleblower Edward Snowden released one of the biggest intelligence leaks in history two years ago, almost a week doesn’t go past without some new information on electronic surveillance making headlines. And yet, the more that is revealed, the more we become aware just how much governments are keeping us in the dark.
The first week of July has been particularly notable. Last Wednesday, we were informed by the UK intelligence tribunal that Amnesty International’s private communications were intercepted and accessed by the UK’s intelligence agencies. The notice, which arrived to us in the form of arather surreal email, was the outcome of a case brought by Amnesty and nine other organizations against the UK government. It concluded more than 18 months of litigation with hearings held either in secret or on the basis that the government could ‘neither confirm nor deny’ any facts. It was a backhanded victory to finally confirm what we suspected: that Amnesty’s communications were spied on by UK intelligence agencies.