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'Don't get caught in an endless cat-and-mouse game with NSA'

Published time: June 06, 2014 11:17
Reuters/Larry Downing

We need political measures to update our laws to make sure that adequate checks and balances are in place to prevent a race with spying agencies, in which they will have the upper hand, CEO of the World Wide Web Foundation Anne Jellema told RT.

RT:Your organization strives for everyone's right to access the internet but what is its position towards internet snooping?

Anne Jellema: We believe that warrantless mass surveillance conducted in secret under laws made and enforced in secret can never be acceptable, and it undermines the very fabric of the democratic society. It’s a serious violation of basic human rights.

RT: How global is the problem of mass surveillance? Does it concern only the big powers like the US and Europe?

AJ: We don’t know that, but we do know from our own research in WebIndex that 94 percent of countries that we surveyed did not meet the best practice standards for controls over governments' power to spy on citizens, and we also know that many governments around the world, not just the US, have been rapidly expanding their capability to spy on their citizens digitally, and of course that includes the BRICS countries. When we talk about the problem of mass surveillance we need to understand that it involves many governments around the world and all governments are interested in getting their hands on more data. It’s up to us, the citizens, to make sure that there are adequate checks and balances on the states' power to spy on us.

RT: Do you think governments will ever reconsider their policies on surveillance?

AJ: We believe it is possible and we are encouraged by the recent steps in the US towards legislative reform, which are largely because of popular pressure. They don’t go nearly far enough but it’s really just the beginning, and that’s why we have started the WebWe1 campaign to push for a digital bill of rights in every country around the world that would protect our freedom of expression and our privacy online, as well as our right to access the internet in the first place.

RT: There is a world-wide campaign called Reset the Net, which urges site owners and software developers to use encryption and anti-spy software. Can that help?

AJ: We are very supportive of the need for companies to improve encryption and for users to take whatever measures they can to protect themselves. We think that it is not enough. We know that the NSA was able to break encryption; we know that they will continue to try to break encryption even as encryption is improved. We don’t want to get caught in an endless cat and mouse game in which the spy agencies are trying to get one step ahead of the technology. We know that they will probably win that race. So that’s why we also need political measures to update our laws to make sure that adequate checks and balances are in place to prevent unnecessary disproportional surveillance that is becoming a norm. So both the political and the technical solution will be necessary, and unless these two go hand-in-hand the fear that Edward Snowden expressed that nothing will change is very likely to come true. We don’t believe it’s all inevitable; we were inspired by many examples of citizen action around the world to reclaim the Web as the space for the people, not a playground for spies.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

Comments (8)


raydpratt 09.06.2014 01:08

The very day that the NSA and its supporters knew what Snowden was revealing, is the very day that the NSA and its supporters started crafting a new story. We see similar new stories from all those companies that cooperated with the NSA and which allowed back-doors into their hardware and software. Now that these companies' world sales are threatened, they are 'fighting' these terrible wrongs. However, without Snowden, it would still be a secret that they were cooperating. You have to assume that the game is still the same and that no public company has any real privacy solutions that are immune from an NSA letter.


mergon 07.06.2014 09:38

2/ you also dont want to mention the digital network of road signs that have receivers built in for tracking a vehicle anywhere and tapping into the vehicles comms system ,
And best not to mention that digital add signs contain phone scanners that work on the same principal as the RF TAGS IN SHOPS , = why do i have to use special tools and or know how to get the battery out of my phone ?

Why does a C.A.N vehicle emission system transmit its signal appx 50 ft ? so proving you dont mention stuff like this or other things that are government approved
stuff , you will only have a file in their rant bin !


mergon 07.06.2014 09:23

1/ Its true if you write comment on here or any other site you could get noticed ,providing you dont use words like Scalar
and dont point out stuff like Gating, this is where they can control a vehicle remotely causing it to crash it works on newer vehicles with computer assit safety braking systems
you gate the distance radar hazard beam to read short and then gate the ABS to apply the brakes only on to one side of the vehicle causing a fatal accident its this kind of stuff they dont like going public !

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