Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Can Privacy and Free Speech Coexist in a Surveillance Society?

In a post that argues that surveillance is not the only problem faced by those who live under authoritarian governments, Yemeni activist Walid Al-Saqaf makes an interesting distinction. He draws a line between Western nations where free speech is a constitutionally-protected right and countries where censorship is a reality. It is easy to accept the primacy of the surveillance problem when free speech is protected.

In Arab countries, he says, people are still trying to find their own voices. He finds it harder to draw a line there between surveillance and censorship, finding that surveillance often leads to censorship.

In the profile linked to the post, the author is described as "one of a few Arab cyber activists working on censorship circumventing technologies." Both his activities and his perspectives are worthy of attention.

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