Article 12 of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) states:
No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.
Thanks to Edward Snowden, WikiLeaks and others, we are now acutely aware that everything we do and say on the Internet and via our telephones is being monitored. The proliferation of connected technology has eroded away the little privacy we had left. We are under constant surveillance and the evidence that has surfaced over the recent years to that regard has been overwhelming. Our rights are gradually slipping away from our grasp, and we are complicit.
Since 10 December 1948, who can count the number of individuals denied their rights as set out in Article 12? Our era - the age of the Internet - brought with it greater connectivity but also, increased the opportunities available for surveillance, monitoring and tracking. In the real world, facial recognition is now able to read through face masks, vehicle licence plate recognition is everywhere and we carry location trackers in our pockets and handbags in the form of the smartphone.
If you have nothing hide, you have nothing to fear
We all have something to hide. Privacy is not a privilege; it is a basic human right. We should not have to apologise for demanding our privacy. In the same way we use curtains and blinds on our windows, we must have the tools to protect our digital lives. And where those tools are lacking, we must build them.
There is no justification without due process for the invasion of a citizen’s privacy. If no crime has been committed, then there is no justifiable cause to withdraw or seek to circumvent the right to privacy afforded, anywhere in the world. No government, state actor or organisation should be allowed unfettered access to private data under the guise of intelligence gathering or national security.
Take Action: Enforce the right to privacy
Citizens of the World must act to reclaim privacy. Revoke any permissions granted and reject all unauthorised surveillance, monitoring and tracking.
We must irritate, we must fight, we must resist. We must do all that we can to defend this basic human right. And we must never, ever, give up our rights and freedoms.