16 February 2015
Dear Prime Minister Cameron,
Those of us who care about privacy were shocked to hear your statements last month in support of outlawing encrypted civilian communication. To strip us of our right to keep our words and thoughts private from the government would be the ultimate victory for terrorists who seek to destroy our society.
Today in America, we are celebrating the Presidents who have led our country. Our first President and those who came with him to America had many aspirations for the country they founded. But central to their inspiration was the belief that every citizen's right to communicate freely was of greater importance than any need of government.
George Washington had his own central thesis about freedom of speech. To build a strong social system, all citizens must have these rights:
- private communication that can be kept hidden from the government's prying eyes
- freedom of information without government censorship
Washington learned the importance of these rights from the over-reaching British before him. This is why he founded the United States Post Office. In the United States, the First Amendment and the Fourth Amendment protect free and uncensored communication.
But, today around the world, the right to private communication that can be hidden from the government's prying eyes has become a human rights issue. Two of the articles in the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights make this very case.
Article 12 argues: "No citizen should be subjected to arbitrary interference of their privacy, family, home or correspondence."
Article 19 of this same declaration states: "Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes the freedom to hold opinions without interference."
The few countries in the world that ban encryption are also the most totalitarian nation states on the planet -- Iran, Syria, Burma, Sudan and North Korea. I do not believe that is the kind of company British citizens want to keep.
I believe free and uncensored communication for every citizen is how we make a strong social system worldwide. These rights enable evolution instead of revolution. We need more technologies that let us preserve our privacy, not less. Government cannot go so far in this war on terror that citizen's very rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are sacrificed. We cannot let our fear of terrorism and its violence become an excuse for turning our back on human rights.
I urge you to join the growing chorus of those who think free and open communication without government intervention or restriction should be recognised as a global human right. Instead, you seek to make this right a crime. I would love to sit down and chat with you more about this perspective.
Please feel free to contact me anytime on Wickr. My username is
*********. Better do it quick before it becomes illegal. Actually, no need to hurry. If that happens, just download Wickr through another country using a VPN to change your IP address location ;)
I hope to hear from you soon.