US National Security Agency

Academics worldwide sign online petition against mass spying

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 05 January, 2014, 5:36am
UPDATED : Sunday, 05 January, 2014, 6:59am

More than 250 academics from around the world including Hong Kong have signed an online petition calling for an end to "blanket mass surveillance" by intelligence agencies.

The petition said mass surveillance revealed in documents leaked by former US National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden violated "a fundamental right" protected by treaties, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the European Convention on Human Rights.

"This has to stop," said the petition (, an initiative of four University of Amsterdam academics. "Without privacy people cannot freely express their opinions or seek and receive information. Moreover, mass surveillance turns the presumption of innocence into a presumption of guilt … secret and unfettered surveillance practices violate fundamental rights and the rule of law, and undermine democracy.

"The signatories of this declaration call upon nation states to take action. Intelligence agencies must be subjected to transparency and accountability. People must be free from blanket mass surveillance conducted by intelligence agencies."

The signatories include Marcelo Thompson, assistant professor of law at the University of Hong Kong.