By Carl Miller
Today, 500 writers have added their name to an open letter to the United Nations. In it, some of the most influential authors in the world demand an end to the 'mass surveillance' exposed by the revelations made by Edward Snowden. The letter calls on the UN to create an international bill of digital rights, and for states and corporations to sign and respect this convention.
So what's the matter with digital rights? The letter does something very dangerous: when it states things like "all humans have the right to remain unobserved and unmolested", and demands the right for people to determine "what extent their personal data may be legally collected, stored and processed", it confuses and elides mass surveillance (indiscriminate, disproportionate, bad) with just surveillance overall.
I'm not a fan of the current surveillance system we have in place. Long before the Snowden revelations I argued (alongside, incidentally, a former director of GCHQ) that the system of lawsRead More »from Let’s have a reality check: The government needs to spy on people’s emails