September 11, 2012 | By Rebecca Bowe

Freedom Not Fear: Sydney Edition

NOTE: On Sept. 14 – 17, activists with the Freedom Not Fear movement will stage an international week of action to oppose various forms of surveillance. EFF is spending this week examining surveillance trends and spotlighting movements that have sprung up in opposition. You can follow our series here.

Far from being confined to London or Brussels, surveillance is an international trend. As CCTV cameras proliferate, legislative proposals for expanded online spying powers crop up, and mandatory data retention continues steamrolling ahead while jeopardizing individuals’ private information, the chorus against such trends is getting louder – and originating from all over the world.

In Sydney, Australia, privacy campaigners are gearing up for a rally to be held in conjunction with Freedom Not Fear events in Brussels and Luxembourg. On Sept. 15 at noon in Sydney’s Hyde Park, a coalition of activists will host a Freedom Not Fear rally and BBQ. Organizers include Pirate Party Australia, Support Assange and WikiLeaks Coalition, Electronic Frontiers Australia, the NSW Fire Brigades Employees Union and Privacy.io.

“We think it is important to show our opposition to censorship and the rising surveillance state,” said Simon Frew, Deputy President of Pirate Party Australia, and one of the organizers. “We encourage everyone who is concerned about the erosion of our civil liberties to come along and show their support for a free society. Since the beginning of the War on Terror, there has been a continual erosion of our rights and it is time to say enough.”

As part of the event, activists from the Cryptoparty grassroots movement will touch on privacy in the digital age, and will be on hand to assist people with tools to secure their digital communications.

There will be speakers and workshops on a wide range of topics including censorship, surveillance, governmental transparency, encryption and whistleblowing. There will also be live music, and an open discussion for activists to discuss how the National Security Inquiry proposals will impact their work – not to mention affect the privacy rights of all Australians.

As EFF has pointed out before, Australians have plenty to worry about with regard to privacy, between the recent passage of the Cybercrime Legislation Amendment Bill 2011 and the National Security Inquiry Proposal. Nevertheless, public opposition is alive and well, and this Freedom Not Fear rally is only the beginning of a long battle ahead.


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