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Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Nobel prize winners join drive
to curb massive surveillance

Five Nobel prize winners are among many well-known writers who are pushing for governments to cease and desist peeking over the shoulders of citizens, arguing that the basic right of individual privacy is being subverted.

The "fundamental right" to live free of perpetual surveillance "has been rendered null and void through abuse of technological developments by states and corporations," according to Authorsforpeace, which has organized a global petition drive against for mass surveillance.

"A person under surveillance is no longer free; a society under surveillance is no longer a democracy," the writers say. "To maintain any validity, our democratic rights must apply in virtual as in real space."

The signatories, who come from 81 different countries, include Nobel laureates Orhan Pamuk (Turkey, 2006), J.M. Coetzee (South Africa, 2003), Elfriede Jelinek (Austra, 2004), Günter Grass (Germany, 1999) and Tomas Tranströmer (Sweden, 2011).

In recent months, the extent of mass surveillance has become common knowledge. With a few clicks of the mouse the state can access your mobile device, your e-mail, your social networking and Internet searches. It can follow your political leanings and activities and, in partnership with Internet corporations, it collects and stores your data, and thus can predict your consumption and behaviour. 

The basic pillar of democracy is the inviolable integrity of the individual. Human integrity extends beyond the physical body. In their thoughts and in their personal environments and communications, all humans have the right to remain unobserved and unmolested. 

This fundamental human right has been rendered null and void through abuse of technological developments by states and corporations for mass surveillance purposes.

A person under surveillance is no longer free; a society under surveillance is no longer a democracy. To maintain any validity, our democratic rights must apply in virtual as in real space.

* Surveillance violates the private sphere and compromises freedom of thought and opinion. 

* Mass surveillance treats every citizen as a potential suspect. It overturns one of our historical triumphs, the presumption of innocence. 

* Surveillance makes the individual transparent, while the state and the corporation operate in secret. As we have seen, this power is being systemically abused.

* Surveillance is theft. This data is not public property: it belongs to us. When it is used to predict our behaviour, we are robbed of something else: the principle of free will crucial to democratic liberty.

WE DEMAND THE RIGHT for all people to determine, as democratic citizens, to what extent their personal data may be legally collected, stored and processed, and by whom; to obtain information on where their data is stored and how it is being used; to obtain the deletion of their data if it has been illegally collected and stored.


WE CALL ON ALL CITIZENS to stand up and defend these rights.

WE CALL ON THE UNITED NATIONS to acknowledge the central importance of protecting civil rights in the digital age, and to create an International Bill of Digital Rights. 

WE CALL ON GOVERNMENTS to sign and adhere to such a convention.

Public Intervention: 560 authors from 83 countries have signed an appeal against mass surveillance.
There is hardly any issue more pressing than systematic mass surveillance and the dangers it poses to democracy and civil liberties.

Under the name "Writers Against Mass Surveillance", a small group of authors has formulated an international appeal, signed by more than 500 renowned authors from around the world, including five Nobel Prize Laureates. It calls for an "International Bill of Digital Rights,“ demands that the United Nations passes a binding convention to protect civil rights in the digital age and calls upon all citizens to stand up and defend these rights.

After organizing an open letter to Chancellor Angela Merkel asking her to take action with regard to the NSA-affair, Juli Zeh, Eva Menasse and Ilija Trojanow decided to broaden the protest to a global audience. They were joined by Janne Teller, Priya Basil, Isabel Cole and Josef Haslinger, and altogether they initiated the appeal "A Stand for Democracy in the Digital Age". They organized the global intervention independently, relying solely on personal contacts and private networks.

"Surveillance violates the private sphere and compromises freedom of thought and we no longer want to watch the inaction of decision makers,“ says German writern Juli Zeh. "We all have to stand up now, and we as writers do what we can do best: use the written word to intervene publicly."

First Signatories (by countries):

ALBANIA  Anila Wilms

ALGERIA  Boualem Sansal

ANGOLA  José Eduardo Agualusa

ARGENTINIA  Maria Teresa Andruetto, Edgardo Cozarinsky, María Sonia Cristoff, Marcelo Figueras, Carlos Gamerro, Alberto Manguel, Guillermo Martinez, Elsa Osorio, Claudia Piñeiro, Samanta Schweblin.

AUSTRALIA  Debra Adelaide, Chris Andrews, Venero Armanno, Larissa Beherendt, James Bradley, Brian Castro, Nick Cave, Miriam Cosic, Michelle de Kretser, Nick Earls, Delia Falconer, Anna Funder, Helen Garner, Elisabeth Holdsworth, Linda Jaivin, Gail Jones, Evelyn Juers, Thomas Keneally, Nam Le, James Ley, Angelo Loukakis, David Malouf, Frank Moorhouse, Peter Rose, Rosie Scott, John Tranter, Kirsten Tranter, Arnold Zable

AUSTRALIA/USA  Lily Brett, Geraldine Brooks. 

AUSTRIA  Olga Flor, Karl-Markus Gauß, Thomas Glavinic, Josef Haslinger, Monika Helfer, Klaus Hoffer, Alois Hotschnig, Elfriede Jelinek, Michael Köhlmeier, Eva Menasse, Robert Menasse, Robert Pfaller, Doron Rabinovici, Kathrin Röggla, David Schalko, Robert Schindel, Clemens J Setz, Marlene Streeruwitz, Peter Weibel, Josef Winkler

AUSTRIA/GERMANY  Daniel Kehlmann

BANGLADESH  Ahmad Mostofa Kamal


BELARUS  Svetlana Alexievich

BELARUS/USA  Valzhyna Mort 

BELGIUM  Gie Bogaert, Saskia De Coster, Patrick De Rynck, Jozef Deleu, Laurent Demoulin, Charles Ducal, Joris Gerits, Jos Geysels, Luuk Gruwez, Thomas Gunzig, Peter Holvoet-Hanssen, Elisabeth Marain, Pierre Mertens, Bart Moeyaert, Elvis Peeters, Erik Spinoy, Rik Torfs, Koen Van Bockstal, Walter van den Broeck, Miriam Van hee, David van Reybrouck, Annelies Verbeke, Paul Verhaeghe, Roel Verschueren, Erik Vlaminck, Georges Wildemeersch



BOSNIA  Miljenko Jergovic

BRAZIL  Marçal Aquino, Rafael Cardoso, Bernardo Carvalho, João Paulo Cuenca, João Ubaldo Ribeiro, Luiz Ruffato, Paulo Scott

BULGARIA  Georgi Gospodinov

BULGARIA/UK  Kapka Kassabova

CAMEROON  Patrice Nganang

CANADA  Margaret Atwood, Ken Babstock, Cory Doctorow, Yann Martel, Colin McAdam, Michael Ondaatje, John Ralston Saul, Madeleine Thien

CHILE  Carla Guelfenbein, Arturo Fontaine Talavera


CHILE/USA  Lina Meruane

CHINA  Liao Yiwu

COLOMBIA  Antonio Ungar, Héctor Abad, Oscar Collazos, Oscar Guardiola-Rivera, Juan Gabriel Vásquez

CROATIA  Slavenka Drakulic, Nenad Popovic, Dubravka Ugrešic

CUBA  Leonardo Padura Fuentes

CUBA/SPAIN  Iván de la Nuez 

CZECH REP  Jaroslav Rudi

DENMARK  Niels Barfoed, Suzanne Brøgger, Tom Buk-Swienty, Peter H Fogtdal, Katrine Marie Guldager, Iselin C Hermann, Peter Høeg, Sven Holm, Hanne Vibeke Holst, Carsten Jensen, Pia Juul, Peter Øvig Knudsen, Morten Kringelbach, Jørgen Leth, Ib Michael, Morten Ramsland, Morten Sabroe, Pia Tafdrup, Janne Teller

DJIBOUTI  Abdourahman Waberi

ECUADOR  Francisco Proaño Arandi

EGYPT  Alaa al-Aswany, Nawal El Saadawi, Ahdaf Soueif

EGYPT/USA  Mona Eltahawy

EL SALVADOR  Horacio Castellanos Moya

FINLAND  Monika Fagerholm, Jarkko Tontti, Kjell Westö

FRANCE   Jean-Jacques Beineix, Céline Curiol, Marie Darrieussecq, Philippe Djian, Lionel Duroy, Mathias Énard, Jérôme Ferrari, Anne-Marie Garat, Laurent Gaudé, Pascale Hugues, Alban Lefranc , Roger Lenglet , Virginie Lou-Nony , Jean Mattern , Betty Mialet , Catherine Millet , Frédéric Mitterrand , Hélène Neveu Kringelbach , Philippe Pozzo di Borgo , Flore Vasseur

FRANCE/CANADA  Martin Winckler

France/USA  Jonathan Littell

GERMANY  Friedrich Ani, Michael Augustin, Anke Bastrop, Ulrich Beck, Artur Becker, Josef Bierbichler, Marica Bodroži´c, Mirko Bonné, Ralf Bönt, Nora Bossong, Daniel Cohn-Bendit, Daniela Dahn, Liane Dirks, Doris Dörrie, Ulrike Draesner, Kurt Drawert, Tanja Dückers, Carolin Emcke, Sherko Fatah, David Finck, Julia Franck, Franziska Gerstenberg, Christoph Giesa, Roman Graf, Günter Grass, Kerstin Grether, Annett Gröschner, Gert Heidenreich, Christoph Hein, Thomas Hettche, Paul Ingendaay, Steffen Kopetzky, Mareike Krügel, Michael Krüger, Michael Kumpfmüller, Antje Kunstmann, Katja Lange-Müller, Benjamin Lauterbach, Jo Lendle, Michael Lentz, Ulli Lust, Angelina Maccarone, Kristof Magnusson, Sten Nadolny, Christiane Neudecker, Norbert Niemann, Ingo Niermann, Markus Orths, Georg M Oswald, Inka Parei, Annette Pehnt, Antje Rávic Strubel, Annika Reich, Moritz Rinke, Charlotte Roos, Eugen Ruge, Peter Schneider, Erasmus Schöfer, Ingo Schulze, Hilal Sezgin, Peter Sloterdijk, Tilman Spengler, Burkhard Spinnen, Ulrike Steglich, Hans-Ulrich Treichel, Ilija Trojanow, Regula Venske, Marius von Mayenburg, Thomas von Steinaecker, Gisela von Wysocki, Jan Wagner, Alissa Walser, Theresia Walser, Florian Werner, Roger Willemsen, Ron Winkler, Juli Zeh, Jan Christophersen

GHANA/USA  Kwame Dawes

GREECE  Kostas Akrivos , Petros Markaris, Amanda Michalopoulos, Michailis Modinos, Nina Rapi, Thanassis Valtinos

HAITI/USA  Edwidge Danticat


HUNGARY  Tibor Babiczky, Zsófia Balla, Zsófia Bán, Báthori Csaba, György Dragomán, Peter Esterhazy, Krisztián Grecsó, Noémi Kiss, László Krasznahorkai, Lajos Parti Nagy, Anna T. Szabó

ICELAND  Björk, Oddný Eir, Einar Már Guðmundsson, Hallgrímur Helgason, Bjarni Jónsson, Andri Snær Magnason, Steinnun Sigurðardóttir, Sjón, Jón Kalman Stefánsson

INDIA  Shahid Amin, Amit Chaudhuri, Tishani Doshi, Naresh Fernandes, Amitav Ghosh, Ramchandra Guha, Anjum Hassan, Ranjit Hoskoté, Raj Kamal Jha, Ruchir Joshi, Girish Karnad, Mukul Kesavan, Amitava Kumar, Pankaj Mishra, Kiran Nagarkar, Jerry Pinto, Arundhati Roy, Arundhati Subramaniam, Jeet Thayil, Altaf Tyrewala

INDIA/UK  Salil Tripathi, Suketu Mehta

IRAQ  Jabbar Yassin Hussin

IRAQ/FINLAND  Hassan Blasim


IRELAND  Roddy Doyle, Colum McCann, Colm Tóibín

ISRAEL  Assaf Gavron, David Grossman, Etgar Keret, Yitzhak Laor, Sami Michael, Amos Oz, Zeruya Shalev

ITALY  Andrea Bajani Italy, Massimo Carlotto, Umberto Eco, Erri de Luca, Paolo Giordano, Dacia Mariani

ITALY/AUSTRIA  Sabine Gruber

JAPAN  Tosihiko Uji, Jordan Elias Farkouh

LEBANON  Dominique Eddé


LIBYA/EGYPT  Ahmed Fagih

LUXEMBOURG  Ranga Yogeshwar

MACEDONIA  Nikola Madzirov

MALAWI  Samson Kambalu 

MALAYSIA  Tan Twan Eng

MALTA  Pierre Mejlak

MEXICO  Rosa Beltrán, Sabina Berman, Carmen Boullosa, Ana Clavel, Alma Guillermoprieto, Angeles Mastretta

NETHERLANDS  René Appel, Abdelkader Benali, Ronald Bos, Ian Buruma, Gerrit Bussink, Saskia de Jong, Job Degenaar, Renate Dorrestein, Rudolf Geel, Arnon Grünberg, Joke J Hermsen, Marjolin Hof, Tjitske Jansen, Liesbeth Lagemaat, Thomas Lieske, Geert Mak, Nelleke Noordervliet, Ester Naomi Perquin, Aleid Truijens, Manon Uphoff, Jan van Mersbergen, Anne Vegter

NEW ZEALAND  Pip Adam, Tim Corballis, Nicky Hager, Ingrid Horrocks, Lloyd Jones, Elizabeth Knox, Bill Manhire, Courtney Sina Meredith, Sarah Quigley, Anna Sanderson, C. K. Stead

NEW ZEALAND/UK  Susan Pearce

NIGERIA  Helon Habila, Chika Unigwe

NIGERIA/GERMANY  Olumide Popoola

NORWAY  Jostein Gaarder, Per Petterson

PAKISTAN  Mohsin Hamid, Ahmed Rashid

PAKISTAN/UK  Kamila Shamsie

PALESTINE  Suad Amiry, Mourid Barghouti, Najwan Darwish, Nathalie Handal, Raja Shehadeh, Adania Shibli, Ghassan Zaqtan


PERU  Santiago Roncagliolo


POLAND  Ignacy Karpowicz, Beata Stasi´cska, Witold Szab´cowski, Olga Tokarczuk

PORTUGAL  Pedro Rosa Mendes

ROMANIA  Mircea Cartarescu

RUSSIA  Vladimir Aristov, Alan Cherchesov, Victor Erofeyev, Alisa Ganiyeva, Dmitri Golynko, Alexander Ilichevsky, Sergei Lebedev, Stanislav Lvovsky, Mikhail Shishkin, Alexander Skidan, Alexander Snegiryov

SAMOA  Albert Wendt

SENEGAL  Cheikh Hamidou Kane

SERBIA  David Albahari


SLOVAKIA  Michal Hvorecký

SLOVENIA  Gabriela Babnik, Aleš Car, Aleš Debeljak, Mojca Kumerdej, Miha Mazzini, Dušan Šarotar, Aleš Šteger


SOUTH AFRICA  Breyten Breytenbach, Antjie Krog, Zakes Mda, Margie Orford, Henrietta Rose-Innes, Gillian Slovo, Ivan Vladislavi, Zukiswa Wanner


SOUTH KOREA  Hwang Sok-Yong

SPAIN   Ricardo Bada, Javier Cercas, Rafael Chirbes, Juan Goytisolo, Julio Llamazares, Javier Marías, Antonio Muñoz Molina, Rosa Montero, Javier Salinas. 


SUDAN  Jamal Mahjoub

SWEDEN   Arne Dahl, Per Olov Enquist, Aris Fioretos, Jan Guillou, Björn Larsson, Henning Mankell, Håkan Nesser, Tomas Tranströmer, Svante Weyler

SWITZERLAND  Melinda Nadj Abonji, Sybille Berg, Peter Bieri, Irena Brežná, Melitta Breznik, Iso Camartin, Alex Capus, Martin Dean, Catalin Florescu, Christian Haller, Reto Hänny, Eveline Hasler, Franz Hohler, Pedro Lenz, Charles Lewinsky, Klaus Merz, Julian Schütt, Peter Stamm, Alain Sulzer, Urs Widmer, Syria Hala Mohammed

TANZANIA/UK  Abdulrazak Gurnah

THAILAND/US  Rattawut Lapcharoensap


TURKEY  Yasar Kemal, Murathan Mungun, Orhan Pamuk, Buket Uzuner

UK   Akkas Al-Ali, Tariq Ali, David Almond, Martin Amis, Julian Barnes, Priya Basil, John Berger, Jane Borodale, John Burnside, Louis de Bernières, Isobel Dixon, Joanne Harris, Kazuo Ishiguro, Pico Iyer, Stephen Kelman, Hari Kunzru, Ian McEwan, David Mitchell, Stella Newman, Martin Rowson, Manda Scott, Will Self, Owen Sheers, Philip Sington, Adam Thirwell, David Vann, Nigel Warbuton, Irvine Welsh, Jeanette Winterson

UK/INDIA  Rana Dasgupta Anjali Joseph, Nikita Lalwani

UK/JORDAN   Fadia Faqir

UK/PAKISTAN  Hanif Kureishi

UK/US  Lionel Shriver

UKRAINE  Myroslav Marynovych, Oksana Zabuzhko

USA  John Ashbery, Paul Auster, Elise Blackwell, TC Boyle, Alexander Chee, Isabel Fargo Cole, Billy Collins, Don DeLillo, Colin Dickey, Jennifer Egan, Dave Eggers, Elizabeth Eslami, Richard Ford, George Dawes Green, Joe Hurley, Elizabeth Kostova, Adrian Nicole LeBlanc, Jonathan Lethem, Barry Lopez, Ben Marcus, Tyler McMahon, Claire Messud, Josip Novakovich, George Packer, Tim Parrish, Richard Powers, James Salter, Sapphire, Richard Sennett, Jane Smiley, Anne Waldman, Alice Walker, Eliot Weinberger, Jeffrey Yang

USA/BOSNIA  Aleksandar Hemon

USA/ROMANIA  Domnica Radulescu

ZIMBABWE   Brian Chikwava

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