In Support of Data Protection

June 24, 2013

Privacy advocates from the United States, Canada and Europe have gathered in Washington, DC for the conference on Computers, Freedom and Privacy (CFP). In light of recent revelations about the collection of personal data from Internet companies by the US government and other dragnet surveillance techniques that impact the rights of Internet users, the North American and European privacy advocates issued the following consensus statement.

Privacy is a basic human right set out in Articles 17 and 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and Article 12 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).

We, the undersigned civil society groups from North America and Europe, are outraged because:

• Under PRISM and related surveillance programs, the US government is collecting personal data that individuals have given to companies such as Google or Facebook. These data were given freely or inadvertently, trusting that they would only be used for stated commercial purposes and not secretly shared with governments in order to monitor innocent people worldwide;

• At the same time, the US companies and the US administration are lobbying in Europe against European data protection law at a time when the world needs strong privacy protections most;

• EU citizens currently have significant privacy rights that US citizens do not have – thereby creating a level of trust in the public and private sectors in the European Union that is not available to US citizens.

Currently, the European Union is reforming its general data protection framework for the private sector. We therefore call on EU policy makers:

• to oppose corporate lobbying and to prevent the erosion of privacy protections in the European Union;

• to set a high standard and ensure that EU data protection law sets a global standard for privacy;

• to ensure specific rights of individuals are being preserved, such as explicit consent to personal data processing, the right to access, rectification and certain rights to erasure that are in the existing European legal framework;

• to ensure basic principles that would help protect citizens against untargeted and disproportionate surveillance measures, such as data minimization, purpose limitation, limited storage periods and notification procedures;

• to ensure that personal data processed in the EU is not transferred to third country authorities without a determination that there are adequate privacy safeguards.

We further call on US policy makers:

• to repeal provisions of the PATRIOT Act and the FISA Amendments Act that permit unlawful surveillance of users of Internet services ;

• to enact the “Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights” into law ;

• to cease the US opposition to EU efforts to strengthen data protection ;

• to support ratification of Council of Europe Convention 108.

Our common future, on both sides of the Atlantic, needs privacy and a strong European law. We call on European policy makers to defend this human right now, as an essential prerequisite for preserving privacy, freedom of thought and of expression in vibrant democracies.

American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)
Bits of Freedom (BoF)
British Columbia Civil Liberties Association (BCCLA)
Consumers Against Supermarket Privacy Invasion and Numbering (CASPIAN)
Consumer Federation of America (CFA)
Consumer Action
Center for Digital Democracy (CDD)
Defending Dissent Foundation
Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC)
European Digital Rights (EDRi)
Friends of Privacy USA
Privacy International
Privacy Rights Clearinghouse

Individual signatories:


    1. Jochen Reck

      Wholeheartedly endorse this as a European living in the United States.

      1. Ram Singh

        Invasion of privacy should be incorporated as a constitutional right to all citizens.

    2. Mazen Hamza

      I unabashedly endorse this proposal as a citizen of the United States

    3. Kimmo

      As an Australian, I want to see as much weight as possible given to due consideration in the face of the machinations of my spineless government in thrall to the American corporatocracy. Endorsed.

    4. Mike O'Neill

      Centuries building liberal democratic societies should not be thrown away in the pretence of chasing a few lunatics. Competent traditional police work will be far more effective for that anyway.

      1. Seb

        I endorse this statement and hope people keep on/ start fighting for their rights!

    5. Ram Singh

      Invasion of privacy is the cause of the majority of moral decline in the western world in particular, US, UK, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada.

    6. Claudia Singh

      “Obama, meanwhile, sought to downplay the international chase for the man he called “a 29-year-old hacker” and lower the temperature of an issue that has raised tensions between the U.S. and uneasy partners Russia and China. Obama said in Senegal that the damage to U.S. national security has already been done and his top focus now is making sure it can’t happen again.”

      His focus is to continue with the practice and tighten controls so that “whistleblowing” does not happen again.

      Violation of a citizen’s privacy by any public body is outright wrong, and as a Canadian I endorse the statement.

    7. Carol Saint-Clair

      As an American living in Europe, I heartily endorse this.

  1. Paolo

    As an Italian living in a currently unfortunate Italy – I believe in a strong Europe to act like a lighthouse for citizen rights, worldwide.

  2. Pierluigi Perri

    I endorse this and look forward for an implementation by the EU policy makers of the principles hereby enunciated.

  3. Chris Burrows

    I endorse this and sincerely hope that we in the EU can lead the world in protecting privacy for private citizens.

  4. Don Doumakes

    I strongly endorse, and hope my government in the U.S. will be led to reverse its course.

  5. Simon

    I endorse this.

    * Citizens need to be notified whenever someone new is looking at their communications who wasn’t addressed by the sender. If it is a government body then the name of the eavesdropper can be classified under security laws but the notification of eacesdropping needs to be given always, in any case it needs to be mentioned so that citizens can ask for deletion of their information. Only when it is exceedingly difficult to retrieve the sender by the eavesdropper (i.e. the communication sender/receiever is anonymous), the eavesdropper can abstain from notification.*

  6. Mateusz K.

    I endorse this for several reasons.
    1. Something meaningful from EU citizen perspective is good for the EU standing within EU countries.
    2. Revelations about GCHQ and NSA are troubling mostly because they show their data gathering is done without any thought spared for security of this data and for future (always unintended) consequences of creating such vast data pools.
    3. It’s high time that some good standards appear that take into account the fact that data travels freely without any regard for countries’ jurisdiction. Citizens of the world cannot be left without protection just because they are not citizens of particular country that decided to gather their data. Same goes for big companies. EU-wide law can be a good start.

  7. Michael Davies

    Please do not make the same mistakes we made here in the US. Enact privacy laws that protect your people first, not the government agencies first.

  8. Mark Fothergill

    I endorse this. Please, stop corporations driving policy. I believe that neither religions nor corporations should have any say, or sway, in our governance.

  9. Shava Nerad

    As an individual participant of the meeting which produced this statement, I endorse this, and encourage others to endorse and promote it.

  10. Mark Tong, MD

    If widespread and secret collection of digital information is a response to the threat of terrorism, then the terrorists have literally won by causing our democracies to respond with PRISM and similar programs.

  11. Tim Sutton

    As an American, I wholeheartedly endorse this and hope that my government takes serious note of it.

  12. Christopher Horn

    They had so much power, the only thing they had left to fear, was the loss of that power.

  13. Tim Sutton

    As an American,I wholeheartedly endorse this and hope my government will pay some serious attention to it.

  14. Barry

    As a citizen of the Netherlands I endorse this.

    I also hope our governments will send a strong signal that the current course of spying on other citizens just because they sit on the other side of some geographical border is unacceptable. We are all humans and have the same expectation and right to privacy.

    Also, this is bad for business al around, which is something nobody is looking forward to in this economical climate

  15. Nicholas Nawrockyj

    I used to think my government was just greedy and self-serving… now we know they are actively criminal as well. I endorse these measures.

  16. Paul Renault

    I heartily endorse this Statement.

    As Bruce Schneier put it, “Data is the pollution problem of the 21st century”. Generations yet to come will not, and should not, forgive us if we don’t stop and reverse the erosion and elimination of privacy while it still can be done.

  17. Richard Gout

    I wholeheartedly endorse this! Let’s not follow the US lead on this one but stick to our tradition of strong privacy laws

  18. Michael Fitzpatrick

    Now is the right time for States and their Citizens to push back against the actions of corporations, aggressive and persistent foreign governments, and overreaching agencies and bureaucracies within their own borders, who seek to undermine the privacy of the individual in the name of any number of agendas and bogeymen.

    I endorse this.

  19. Michael Donohoe

    As a dual national of the US and Ireland, I endorse this and sincerely hope that we in the EU can lead the world in protecting privacy for private citizens.

  20. Katherine Albrecht, Ed.D.

    As a promoter and co-author of the Washington Statement, I am glad we could come together at this historically critical time to send this message. Thanks to all who played a role in this project, and thanks to each of the signatories and supporters.

    In freedom,
    Katherine Abrecht, Ed.D.
    Founder and Director CASPIAN Consumer Privacy //
    The world’s most private search engines
    Coming soon… private email!

  21. Philip McAllister

    I endorse this. Who are our governments working on behalf of nowadays?

  22. MR W Jones

    Go on German push this threw I know my government in the uk wont, some one needs to stand up for the eu against he yanks.

  23. Marc Buiks

    I’ll beg you:
    Do not open the envelopes that belong to me.
    Do not read the letters that weren’t written for your eyes.
    Do not retreive data that isn’t yours.

    Terrorism is a crime
    Ignoring privacy also is a crime

  24. Thayer Andrews

    As an American who is deeply alarmed by my government’s behavior relating to matters of individual privacy, I endorse this.

  25. Andrew Hopt

    I absolutely endorse this.

    It’s not that I don’t want to share anything with anyone; it’s that I don’t want to share everything with everyone.

    If I have nothing to hide, you have no reason to look.

  26. Finn Lawler

    I wholeheartedly endorse this, as an Irish citizen and a proud European.

    We must protect our common future, and honour our common heritage, by defeating the forces of tyranny and of modern-day feudalism, just as we did two hundred years ago. Effective and powerful privacy legislation is the first step.

  27. Matthew Tyler

    As an American who is deeply alarmed by my government’s behavior relating to matters of individual privacy, I endorse this.

  28. Bill Lawrence

    Finally a collective & sincere response… after we’ve all learned of NSA’s super-snoop program of rummaging electronically through about a billion phone calls made every day by us average Americans.
    Obama said” If people don’t trust the White House, Congress, and federal judges, “then we’re going to have some problems here.”

    Gosh sir, We the People have now learned that all three branches of government have furtively conspired for seven years to violate our privacy – so, no, we don’t trust any of them. And, yes, that is a biiiiiiig problem. GIVE US BACK OUR PRIVACY… OR GET OUT OF THE WAY!!!

  29. Jens Foerster

    I fully agree with this statement and urge lawmakers in the countries involved to protect the citizen’s privacy.

  30. Sandro Galik

    if we trade human rights for the illusion of security, the terrorists have won.

  31. James Blackshaw

    I endorse this. Having strong privacy laws will protect the people of the EU and give us a competitive advantage in areas such as web hosting and data storage businesses.

  32. hartmut greiner

    set a high standard and ensure that EU data protection law sets a global standard for privacy !!!

  33. hartmut greiner

    set a high standard and ensure that EU data protection law sets a global standard for privacy

  34. Joop Beris

    I wholeheartedly support this initiative.

    The kind of dragnet surveillance of Internet users that has been revealed to the public lately, is not only immoral, it is also a violation of the privacy of every single Internet user. Coupled with the data hoarding of corporations world wide, our private lives are exposed to untold and unknown individuals without us having a say in the matter or any kind of control. We also have no idea of how this data is being used and correlated, how it is protected from third parties (or even if it is). I am vehemently opposed to this situation and I suspect many reasonable people are too.

    I want my privacy back. Thank you!

  35. Kai Hellmeier

    As a reasonable human being, I endorse this!

    Nobody wants Orwell´s 1984! Our privacy is an important peace of democracy – protect privacy, protect democracy.

  36. John Elkin

    As an American living in France, I am full of admiration for Europe’s willingness to endorse and uphold human rights, instead of just making noises about ‘freedom’ while doing everything to take it away, the way America has done. I endorse this.

  37. Marcos David Dione

    I fully endorse this statement as an Italo-Argentinian citizen living in France.

  38. Anja Jessen

    It is our duty as world citizens to protect this basic human right. Endorsed!

  39. Luis Gutierrez

    I fully support this.
    Privacy rights are quickly becoming the equivalent of ecological regulations of the 20th century.

  40. tristam sparks

    as an European and someone who makes a living by attempting to ensure people have free expression online without the threat of persecution, i strongly endorse this call that encourages the European Union to take the initiative and lead the world in underlining the human rights related to free expression… where ever they make be required.

  41. Fabian flohr

    Was there no more professional way to do this? Consider the approach endorsed!

  42. Merlin Cox

    I endorse this.

    A nation in which the state has 100% access to the citizens’ data but the citizens have strictly limited access to the state’s data is surely either a tyranny already or sliding into one. Democracy counts for little if voters are kept ignorant of what the government is getting up to.

  43. Tom Lauer

    As a US citizen who believes that privacy is a human right, I fully endorse this.

  44. Ian Collingwood

    As an British Citizen who votes in local, national and European elections I endorse this.

    I will vote against any candidate who does not express their support for principles laid out in this declaration.

  45. Rosanna Cantavella

    Truth will prevail in the end.
    I fully endorse this statement on data protection.

  46. Olav

    Of course I agree. Please tell me it is not already too late to do something about it though. We have warned against policies like this at least since decades.

  47. Kari-Hans Kommonen

    I fully endorse this, and call for an international process of creating an understanding and consensus of how basic human rights should be extended to take into account the novel phenomena of the digital dimension.

  48. Martin Dias

    I fully endorse this statement. A hint for people who think they cannot do a lot about this, what you can do is: stop using US cloud services, such as Facebook, Google, MS, Instagram, iCloud, Mastercard, PayPal, eBay, etc. But better is to stop buying american products completly, so skip McDonalds, do not buy Coca Cola, Ford, Chrysler, etc., etc., etc.
    It might ask you to adjust certain things, but after two weeks you won’t miss them I promise…and if we do this with the EU as a mass, they will miss us much faster….
    So please spend some energy in not spending money on US products or services.

  49. Leena Romppainen

    As a European citizen I endorse this. We must hold on to our right to privacy.

  50. Timmothy Baxter

    A good start in bringing our privacy laws out of the dark ages. I endorse it.

  51. Pauliina De Paola

    I am appalled that US and UK intelligence agencies are violating Right to Privacy in my own and other European countries as well as elsewhere and breaching privacy regulations and national laws of other sovereign countries. I think American-based IT firms also have a lot to answer for and should worry about losing their customers to more trustworthy competitors.
    I endorse this statement.

  52. Barrie James Sutcliffe

    As a European and a Canadian, I endorse this.
    The right to respect privacy is a complicated issue and its protection must likewise be deep and involved and in the public interest. Privacy, also, is not secrecy to commit wrong – included in its broad definition is the right to know when information is gathered, how it is gathered, why it is gathered, and exactly what processes it will become a part of once it will be gathered, and how it will be used in any kind of bureaucracy, how it will be stored, and how it will be deleted.

  53. mrs. lont

    The European Commission and Parliament should protect us from all these privacy-violations with strong laws.
    I endorse this intiative fully.

  54. David Langley

    As an American citizen who has relatives living abroad, I wholeheartedly endorse this statement.

  55. David Vaile

    As an Australian, whose agencies are since March 2013 now bound by the Council of Europe’s Convention on Cybercrime to provide information to both EU and US agencies for quite broad purposes (but without the restrictions the US placed on its accession to the Convention for the benefit of the rights of its own citizens), my data has become potentially more exposed to both jurisdictions; so I support the statement too.

    (We can’t vote in either forum, but are increasingly affected by your laws and practices.)

    The US may be also better advised to consider adopting the traditionally often more robust approach to protecting the individual’s privacy, confidentiality, presumption of innocence and personal information security in the EU, given the newly-obvious limits of US Constitutional protections under the 4th and other Amendments (and their likely lack of application to us!), rather than trying to persuade the EU to weaken its laws down to lower US standards.

  56. Andrew

    I endorse this wholeheartedly. Our right to privacy is non-negotiable.

  57. Vicky Bending

    I endorse this as a UK, EU, and world citizen. We do not ever need this degree of intrusiveness.

  58. Keith Abraham

    For my father whose life was ruined and for the many who fought and died to retain our Rights I endorse this statement.

  59. Frank Hirsch

    As a European citizen of German origin I endorse this statement.

  60. Michael de Latour

    Article 12 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights:
    “No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.”

    Privacy is a human right. As a European I fully endorse this statement.


    On Data Protection Day, I’ve always written, “If you collect it, protect it.” But it’s clear from recent revelations that way too much personal information has been collected by governments as well as businesses. The EU must stand firm in protecting privacy and lead – not follow – the U.S. in this goal.

  62. Robert Halvorsen

    As a Norwegian, whose government has taken no issue with the actions of the US, I wholeheartedly endorse this statement.

  63. weee

    please tell me more about data minimization while its mandatory to enter “my” email adress…

    but yeah, gogo privacy protections

  64. A White

    As a UK and EU citizen – and as a human being who recognises and wishes to stand up for the human rights of all people the world over – I fully endorse this.

  65. Timo Oster

    Stop governments from treating us all as suspects and laying the foundations for an orwellian surveillance system. Freedom of speech is already being hampered and a paranoid fear of terrorism is no excuse for stripping all of us naked to the eye of the administrations.

    I endorse this statement. Make the EU a center of sensibility while the US are going crazy.

  66. Brian Lalonde

    Someone has to end this condescending, paternalistic info-monarchy. I endorse this.

  67. Garrett Cobarr

    I completely and without hesitation, fully endorse The Washington Statement.

    In the Internet, we are all citizens of the world. Privacy as a fundamental human right is not locked to any particular political boundary. The fact that multinational corporations, governments and their agencies are using the turbulence of technological change as an opportunity to skate home law is a deep and unabiding offense that needs to stop.

  68. Vesa Kivimäki

    I endorse this as a citizen of Finland and Europe. Privacy is a basic human right that should not be violated lightly.

  69. Loki

    I endorse this statement, and call upon the government of Australia (of which I am a citizen) to enact it into law.

  70. Christophe Poncy

    As an UE citizen, I endorse this but also expect from European parliamentarians and policymakers, a strong commitment toward Free Software. Now is the time for Europe to support the free software movement. As a French citizen, I also ask to president Hollande to give asylum to Edward Snowden.

  71. Christophe Poncy

    As an UE citizen, I endorse this but also expect from European parliamentarians and policymakers, a strong commitment toward Free Software. Now is the time for Europe to support the free software movement. As a French citizen, I also ask the president Hollande to give asylum to Edward Snowden.

  72. Christophe Poncy

    As an UE citizen, I endorse this statement but also expect from European parliamentarians and policymakers, a strong commitment toward Free Software. Now is the time for Europe to support the free software movement. As a French citizen, I also ask the president Hollande to give asylum to Edward Snowden.

  73. Rahul Goswami

    I endorse this statement. Without a strong and clear stand taken by the EU that ensures the privacy rights of the citizen, referring to the ICCPR and the UDHR, there is a real danger that governments such as that in the USA will use bilateral ‘trade agreements as channels to build a worldwide infrastructure (and industry) of spying. A country like India, where I am from, for example, may become the ‘back office’ for such data processing, as as adjunct to the information technology offshore work that it is already well-known for. By accepting and acting upon the principles set out in this statement, the EU can provide an alternative to governments elsewhere, anywhere in the world, to guarantee similar rights for their citizens and to reject in perpetuity the surveillance techniques that threaten our freedom and diversity of expression.

  74. Mehdi Sarwar

    As a European citizen I fully endorse this in the name of freedom and democracy. No to fascism.

  75. Evelynn Ashley

    If governments and big businesses don’t respect my rights to privacy, then do not expect me to respect your rights or to feel badly for you for any of your aired “dirty laundry”.

  76. Brian Campbell

    As an honourary life member of the CLA and a librarian who has fought for privacy and free expression. I strongly endorse this statement.

  77. Hubertus Raben

    it is necessary for a functioning democracy to protect the privacy of all data.

    I Endorse this fully.

  78. Pete DiMenna

    As an American, I endorse this statement.

    To people in other nations: I’m sorry my government is doing this to you.

    To future generations: I’m sorry my generation lost the Republic.

  79. Per Møller Jensen

    I endorse this, and hope the European Parliament will too.

  80. Chase Teixeira

    Due to the hypocrisy of the U.S government, i support this statement

Comments are closed.