Some governments spy on everything we do on the Internet. The documents that Edward Snowden made public in 2013, so he had to flee the United States, have revealed how state security agencies use mass surveillance to secretly collect, store and analyze millions of private communications from people around the world. When governments spy on us in this way they are violating our human rights.
Mass surveillance is illegal according to international human rights laws. Therefore, countries must transfer it to their laws so that our rights are guaranteed and that only a judge can authorize our communications to be intervened.
In the name of security and the fight against terrorism, politicians tell us that they need more powers to investigate and prevent attacks. This indiscriminate surveillance simply makes us all suspected criminals and our activities suspects, but there is no evidence that mass government surveillance is effective.
Some people say: ‘If you have not done anything wrong, you have nothing to hide.’ However, the question should be: ‘If I have not done anything wrong, why is my privacy being violated?’ With the excuse of security, such private data could be used to attack journalists, persecute activists, create profiles to discriminate against minorities, and end freedom of expression.“Those who are looking at this data are looking for criminals. You could be the most innocent person in the world, but if someone programmed to look for crime patterns looks at your data, they will not find you, they will find a criminal. ” Edward Snowden.
Our governments face a false dilemma: security or freedom. In a state of law, where laws balance both concepts, people are innocent until proven otherwise and have the right to have their private life respected. Therefore, before violating these rights, governments have to have indications that a crime is being committed. They cannot randomly search for evidence in our private communications before that crime is committed. Some governments want us to accept that we have no rights when we are online. That when we use our mobile phone or enter our email account, everything we do or say belongs to them. We would not allow this degree of intrusion into our life outside the internet, so we should not allow it inside.
When governments do not protect human rights, only the action of ordinary people can make things change and those responsible for abuse accountable. Amnesty International, in collaboration with other organizations, works for governments to ban mass surveillance and illegal exchange of confidential information. A long struggle not without difficulties, but whose momentum grows over time.
Several countries give ‘white cards’ to indiscriminate surveillance in their laws. In France, it is allowed to passively intercept communications, and retain information for long periods and prior judicial authorization has been removed. Also, the United Kingdom has introduced in its legislation greater powers of espionage. Poland has granted surveillance powers incompatible with respect for privacy to the police and other agencies. With the ‘ Freedom Act’, The United States has tried to end the mass collection of phone call recordings, but it is only a first step, as it does not cover many other aspects of mass surveillance revealed by NSA former analyst Edward Snowden. Other countries such as China or Russia also monitor the internet with total contempt for people’s privacy.
On June 5, 2013, former CIA and NSA analyst Edward Snowden decided to reveal the existence of communications surveillance programs for millions of citizens around the world. Through The Guardian and The Washington Post, we learned that, in the name of security and without any judicial control, the NSA and the British government had tracked e-mails, phone calls, and encrypted messages.
Companies such as Facebook, Google, and Microsoft had been forced to deliver customer information on secret orders from the NSA. This same agency recorded, stored, and analyzed the ‘metadata’ of calls and text messages sent in Mexico, Kenya, and the Philippines. They even came to spy on German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s mobile.
In conclusion. Snowden leaked to the press from Hong Kong and currently lives in Russia, where he was granted asylum. You cannot return to the United States because you are accused of disclosing classified information to unauthorized persons and theft of federal government property. For some a hero and others a traitor, thanks to Snowden’s revelations, public opinion is more aware of his right to privacy and has reacted by opposing mass espionage in government surveillance. Although there is a long way to go to ensure that governments do not get into people’s private lives, the courts have declared some aspects of these programs illegal and technology companies have had to position themselves in a scandal that could seriously damage their reputation. Edward Snowden resolutely opposed an entire system that undermined the right to privacy. Instead of persecuting it, the United States Government should protect it.