Freedom not Fear!

Freedom not Fear!

The tragedy of September 11th, 2001 was used by the western governments as a pretext to rob us of our freedoms. To fight the terrorists the secret services of the USA and other countries were granted permission to further invade our privacy on a massive scale. Special laws were passed and special interpretations of these laws were made to let the spies to intercept all our electronic communication, analyse it at will and store it for whatever time they want.

But often the spies don’t even bother with the special laws and just do whatever they want, since oversight by courts (some of them also secret) and parliaments is limited by the scale of the operations and what is more, by those institutions being at the mercy of the spy organizations in regards to what information they get about the ongoing operations.
Since 2008 a loose coalition of activists from around the world organizes events in september each year  under the common slogan of “Freedom not Fear“.

Defending privacy is at the core of Pirate ideology – so it is not an accident that each year more pirate parties from different countries join the international coalition organizing “Freedom not Fear” events. This year the demonstration in Berlin on the 7th September was a huge event launched by a coalition of more then 70 organizations across the whole political spectrum with pirates, greens, left and liberal parties as well as many civil rights groups. Twenty thousands participants marched in the streets of Berlin carrying posters with slogans such as:

“Nur eine Diktatur braucht Zensur!” – “Only dictatorship needs censorship!”

“Anonymität ist kein Verbrechen!” – “Anonymity is not a crime!”

“Pressefreiheit braucht Informationsschutz” – “Press freedom needs information protection”

Jacob Applebaum, internet activist and founder of the Tor project, hold a speech:

“The agencies tasked with protecting us have not only refused to protect us, they have actively betrayed our trust, destroying the personal integrity of otherwise good people, and created a world where we are all less secure by design. People should be able to trust their elected leaders and when that trust is eroded, we must replace them and ensure that the mistakes of yesterday are corrected for a better world tomorrow: kick Merkel out, she has betrayed the German people by believing the criminal NSA and refusing to support the American people in their time of need. Strong cryptography implemented as free software, with open standards is what we need to begin to organize a resistance to the new tyranny of the modern era. The struggle before us is the meta-struggle of our era – our success is what will allow others struggling for justice to be secure in their activties, to be private in their lives and to ensure that the law is followed. The people charged with oversight of our spying agencies have failed us all – we cannot trust them – Like the murdered Turks in the NSU scandal, the status quo has moved them to silence through great failure.”

To show the global character and get more impact of the protests worldwide the pirate parties in other countries chose the same date for their demonstration. The demonstration in Vienna amassed around 500 participants. There were also smaller manifestations in Warsaw, Helsinki and a meeting in a hackerspace in Buenos Aires.

It is worth noting that the demonstrations were not just Pirate Party events, but were supported by coalitions of many other organizations. The 7th of September is not the end of the action – there will be more events during the whole month with a demonstration in The Hague on the 10th of September, a debate in Warsaw, more meetings in Buenos Aires and a culmination in Brussels on 27-30th of September 2013, where a conference will be held with workshops, lectures, discussions, rallies and meetings with members of the European Parliament.

Main picture: CC-BY Tobias M. Eckrich