Our upcoming gig in association with Scottish PEN at the Bongo Club is a really important one to us, so we’ve asked Nik Williams, Policy Advisor at Scottish PEN, to explain why and share a few words a few words about their Surveillance campaign.
Over to Nik…
Are we free to write if we are being watched? As surveillance increases, as the state legislates for sweeping powers that enable them to see our web browsing habits, who we communicate with and seek to remove encryption from our most sensitive conversations, Scottish PEN ask, where does this leave the right to free expression in the UK?
Scottish PEN has been opposing the Investigatory Powers Act for the last 18 months as it demonstrates a distinct threat to how we can communicate, share information, research and take part online free from the prying eyes of others. We do not believe pervasive surveillance powers are compatible with our human rights protections that enable everyone, irrespective of background, belief, gender, income, race or ethnicity to fully realise their fundamental freedoms.
Privacy is not an out-dated human right, it ensures we can all cultivate a space, however small, that we can call our own, where we can create and form the ideas that shape our identity and place in society. Suspicionless surveillance undermines this space, leaving nowhere for us to call our own and without this space how can we be sure what we create, who we communicate with and what we share with others is truly of our own making free from outside influence?
Thanks a lot to Nik for that. You can read more of his thoughts on surveillance and what is now the Investigatory Powers Act 2016 in The Herald.