In a petition released this week, 562 of the world's authors — including five Nobel Prize laureates — came together to call for sweeping surveillance reform in the wake of the ongoing spying scandal. The petition comes only a day after eight leading tech companies, including Apple, Google, and Microsoft, launched a similar campaign aimed at President Obama and Congress demanding changes in how the NSA monitors civilian data.
Among the writers who've signed the petition are Margaret Atwood, Umberto Eco, Don DeLillo, and Yann Martel, collectively forming the Writers Against Mass Surveillance. The authors unequivocally state that "surveillance is theft. This data is not public property: it belongs to us. When it is used to predict our behavior, we are robbed of something else: the principle of free will crucial to democratic liberty." The petition has nearly 40,000 signatures as of this writing.
"This data is not public property: it belongs to us."
Public campaigns against the spying activities revealed by Edward Snowden appear to be ramping up. The EFF recently enlisted the likes of Wil Wheaton and Oliver Stone in a call to arms against the NSA. Meanwhile, three outspoken US senators recently wrote an op-ed for the New York Times calling for an end to the NSA dragnet.