September 14, 2012 | By Katitza Rodriguez

Freedom Not Fear: Creating a Surveillance-Free Internet

Privacy rights face a crisis. Governments around the world have been taking overreaching, fear-based surveillance measures against essential online freedoms. Organizing an international resistance demands a complex understanding of both the latest online surveillance trends and of long-standing threats to privacy. Every year, Freedom Not Fear continues to organize a broad international protest against these threats to our civil liberties, and challenge the hyperbolic rhetoric of fear that permeates the security and privacy debate. This September 14th-17th, concerned European Internet users will descend on Brussels to participate in an international week of action against invasive surveillance initiatives. Events will also be staged in Luxembourg and Sydney. Freedom Not Fear’s slogan: Stop the surveillance mania!

This year’s street protest in Brussels has been announced for Saturday 15th at 11 a.m. Brussels time. The BarCamp schedule for the long weekend in Brussels is available here. There will be a CCTV spotting game in the city center.

EFF is joining the campaign to call attention to pervasive global surveillance measures and to spotlight the movements that have sprung up to oppose them. EFF will be posting articles regularly over the next week, starting today. You can follow our series by subscribing to EFF on  Twitter, identi.ca, Facebook, Google Plus or by checking back to this page. We’ll be listing the articles below.

Freedom Not Fear Series:

1. Freedom Not Fear: CCTV Surveillance Cameras In Focus

2. Freedom Not Fear: Sydney Edition

3. Freedom Not Fear: David Lyon on Contemporary Surveillance

4. Freedom Not Fear: Fresh Challenges Against Mass Untargeted Surveillance

5. Freedom Not Fear: Argentina Edition

6. Privacy Rights Activism in Latin America

Background

The Freedom Not Fear movement emerged out of widespread European outrage at the EU's 2006 Mandatory Data Retention Directive — an EU law requiring ISPs and telcos to store, for a minimum of six months to two years, data such as who communicates with whom, when, where, and how. In practice, data has often been stored for longer. Large databases continue to be fed with personal data on millions of innocent Europeans, threatening anonymity, privacy, and the confidentiality of journalists’ sources. Since its origins in 2008, Freedom Not Fear has developed the general message: fundamental rights like privacy, free expression, due process, and democratic participation are jeopardized when reactionary, fear-driven surveillance systems penetrate our societies.

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