Ireland’s writers get behind anti-surveillance appeal

Several of Ireland’s top writers have added their names to a movement aiming to restrict the power of governments and corporations to monitor and record the online behaviour of the general public.

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The appeal has been put together by a group of international authors from around the world. As successful and influential individuals, the authors have used their personal contacts to form a more powerful group and get their objections heard.

The appeal is being carried by 27 international newspapers worldwide, including the Irish Times. Roddy Doyle, author of The Commitments and The Woman Who Walked into Doors, is one of Ireland’s big names in literature who is behind the campaign. Dubliner Colum McCann, whose work includes the This Side of Brightness and Let the Great World Spin, is another who has signed the appeal.

The movement has emerged after the recent high profile case of the US authorities listening in on a private phone conversation of German leader Angela Merkel, and there are rumoured to be several more similar cases.

‘Mass surveillance treats every citizen as a suspect’

The appeal released a statement outlining their concerns with the current power and intrusiveness of the authorities:
“In their thoughts and in their personal environments and communications all humans have the right to remain unobserved and unmolested,” the appeal argues.

“This fundamental human right has been rendered null and void through abuse of technological developments by states and corporations for mass surveillance purposes. Surveillance violates the private sphere and compromises freedom of thought and opinion. Mass surveillance treats every citizen as a potential suspect. It overturns one of our historical triumphs: the presumption of innocence.”

The organisers are inviting others to sign the petition at