The Day We Fight Back on 11 February 2014, provided a great opportunity for Australians (and people around the world) to to say no to mass surveillance.
Edward Snowden’s revelations have exposed the activities of not only the US National Security Agency but also its security partners around the world. As one of the Five Eyes, Australia participates as a key member of the emerging global super-surveillance state.
On The Day We Fight Back, Thoughtworks Australia joined with Electronic Frontiers Australia, Friends of the Earth and others to launch a new coalition called Citizens not Suspects. Together with thousands of citizens we called on our lawmakers to understand the difference between what is technically possible, and what is legal or acceptable.
Many arguments against mass surveillance focus on human rights and the negative impacts on democracy. We agree with those arguments - they form an important part of our motivation for taking action. But we are additionally spurred to action by the harm that mass surveillance does to the economy and the technology industry. The growth of the open Internet has facilitated incredible leaps in efficiency, productivity and innovation. We believe the online ecosystem that bestows such great benefits is at very real risk if users lose trust and confidence in Internet-enabled products and services.
This day of action marked a milestone in what will certainly be an on-going movement to adapt our laws and governance structures to a rapidly evolving digital world. Up next is a long-awaited parliamentary enquiry into security practices. Our public submission for that enquiry will soon be available here.
We look forward to working closely with the strong community of progressive technologists in Australia and around the world to continue building momentum for change and creating viable alternatives to the surveillance state.