To truly understand the value of freedom, you have to understand what it’s like not to have it.
There here may be no city understands freedom better than Berlin. For decades, one side of the city was free and the other ruled by an oppressive regime that used surveillance to crush any hope of escape. David Hasselhoff was there in the early 90s to celebrate the fall of the Berlin Wall and he returned this May to help kick off a new freedom movement.
Together with our Mikko Hypponen, Germany’s favorite American pop star introduced the #DigitalFreedom Manifesto to the crowd during the keynote presentation of the re:publica conference. The two men explained how the two greatest inventions of our time– the internet and the smartphone — have been turned into tools to watch the behavior of millions of people who have not been accused of any crime.
Hasselhoff revealed what it felt like to have his privacy violated.
“About six years ago, my daughter took a photograph of me when I was not at my best and it hit 11 million Internet users in three or four days. Now it’s probably up to a hundred,” he said. “And I’ve spent a lot of my time trying to get that off the internet. And it didn’t bother me as much as it bothered my daughter. And it bothered me because I broke her heart and hurt her feelings. They accused my daughter of putting the tape out. It was hacked. It was hacked from her computer. And one of the reasons I’m here — and I’ve talked to my daughter before I came here and I said, ‘You know this is going to bring this up again’ because I’m over it and so is she. But I said, ‘Now is the time to bring this up because it’s happening to everyone now.'”
The Manifesto covers four areas:
You’re invited to add your thoughts to the document or simply sign your name in support.
While we at F-Secure devoted to creating tools that help you live free and prosper, we also know that technology also creates to potential to limit us. When governments use innovation to decrease our freedom, the only choice is to fight back and demand politicians listen, Mikko explained.
“It’s cheaper now to keep data than to delete it because data is so cheap. And that’s how the surrevliance state can save our data forever, practically forever,” he said. “One thing people feel when they hear about these things — for example, when the Snowden leaks came out and people learned that foriegn intelligence agencies are collecting mass amounts of data, how they’re tapping underwater, intercontinental data lines with nuclear submarines, and how they’re storing all the data in the largest data center on the planet — when people hear about things like this, they feel like there’s nothing they can do. They become hopeless and they sort of give up. They sort of surrender. And that is understandable because there’s nothing that immediately comes to mind you can do about. These technical safeguards will help but what helps even better is political change — people saying ‘no.'”
It has been less than a year since the documents leaked by former CIA contractor Edward Snowden began to make it clear how far governments were willing to go to invade our privacy.
“Future governments are out of our grasp,” Mikko said. “And any right we give away, we give away forever.”
We hope you’ll join us in making sure the world’s know that you won’t give up your digital freedom without a fight.
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