#UnfollowMeWe invite guest posts on our InternetNZ blog from members. We do not necessarily endorse the position being taken, however we support open dialogue. This blog post comes from Vivian Chandra from Amnesty International.

Imagine a village of roughly 500 people. You have lived there all your life, you were born there and your parents were born there and your grandparents were born there. You know that Jimmy broke his leg climbing up the side of the town hall, and you know that Sally’s mother has an incurable brain tumour.

Privacy is hard to come by, you often feel that everyone knows everything about you. It is uncomfortable and it is stifling.

Marshall McLuhan, in the seminal 1962 book, The Gutenberg Galaxy: The Making of Typographic Man, proposed that “electric technology” has contracted our world into a “global village”. The atomic rise of social networking and the world wide web has truly brought this into reality.

Then there are those other voices, the ones that say that “if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear” and that only criminals (or those with criminal intent) are overly worried about privacy. What we really should ask is “if I’ve done nothing wrong, why are you violating my privacy?”

Privacy is a fundamental human right. Furthermore if you interfere with a person’s privacy, you can also directly or indirectly limit the free development and exchange of ideas, so you are seriously impinging on their ability to have freedom of expression.

The United Nations recognises this, and enshrined it in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. (check out Article 12 if you are really interested)

Kiwis recognise this. A poll just released by Amnesty International, which questioned 15,000 people from 13 countries across every continent, including New Zealand, shows that 71% of respondents were strongly opposed to being monitored by the US. (and it’s slightly higher here in Aotearoa at 75%) Of the Kiwis polled, more than three times the number of people oppose the New Zealand government surveilling phone and Internet use of New Zealand citizens than those that approve it. Following the latest revelations in the Pacific, more than half of those surveyed also oppose the New Zealand government intercepting, storing and analysing Internet use of people living in other countries.

So fight this with us. Join Amnesty International’s #unfollow me campaign and call for the governments of the Five-Eyes Alliance to stop spying.


Vivian Chandra is the ICT & Database Manager for Amnesty International Aotearoa NZ. She also blogs as Ruminations and Ramblings. You can tweet her@vivster81


If you'd like to submit a guest blog, please email david@internetnz.net.nz