Freedom not Fear (fnf) is an annual self-organised conference on privacy and digital rights. People from all across Europe meet and work towards more freedom in the digitalised world, plan actions against increasing surveillance and other attacks on civil rights. As part of the conference we are visiting the European Parliament in Brussels and talk to decision-makers on EU-level.
Freedom not Fear is being supported by a broad alliance including political parties, professional associations, trade unions and freedom activists and more than 150 organisations that share a common goal.
We want freedom of speech in a digitalised world and a free and uncensored internet to express ourselves.
We want privacy in the knowledge society, not surveillance.
We want to live in freedom, not in fear.
The whole story
A broad movement of civil liberty rights defenders is calling upon everyone to participate in actions directed against the ongoing spread of excessive surveillance measures on the part of businesses and governments.
The surveillance mania is continuing to spread. Surveillance in the workplace, in particular, has been increasing. Employees are being watched and monitored in their work environment, sometimes even in their private lives. At the same time, governmental institutions do not miss an opportunity to register, monitor and control us. No matter what we do, to whom we talk to, or who we call, in what groups we are engaged in and what interests we follow – the “big brother” state and the “little brothers and sisters” in the business sector are always one step ahead and know better. The subsequent lack of privacy and confidentiality endangers our society. People, who permanently feel that they are being watched and monitored, are restrained from standing up for their rights and a just society in an unbiased and courageous manner.
The supposed security gain, often put forward to justify measures of surveillance and control, is more than questionable: Accumulating information about citizens does not enhance our protection against crime, it only costs us billions every year. Thereby measures accounting for a more selective and sustainable strengthening of security are being ignored. This also applies to finding remedies for more pressing social problems, such as unemployment and unequal opportunity in our countries. Beyond that, the manifold agenda of security sector reform leads to an ongoing convergence of competencies and cooperation among the police, secret services and the military, threatening to water down the division and balance of power. As a result the constitutional ambits of surveillance are being abolished, leading our society to being increasingly walled off from the rest of the world.
Surveillance, as part of every day life, affects all of us, not just minorities: It compromises our religious freedom, our freedom of expression and information, our right to a free press, the freedom of association and the integrity of companies. A high number of civil organisations and occupational groups are being exposed to measures of surveillance and control in an exceptional manner. Amongst others, these include the personnel of advisory services, medical practitioners, trade unionists, journalists and lawyers.
The respect for our professional and personal privacy is an essential part of our human dignity. A free and open society cannot exist without implicit private spaces and free communication. Therefore we call upon everyone to join our protest against excessive surveillance in cities around the world.