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[liberationtech] Fwd: Demand an open internet

Devon Zuegel devonz at stanford.edu
Tue Jun 3 10:38:59 PDT 2014


Universities should be strongholds of open communication, where the free
flow of information is encouraged. The ability of students to learn and
grow is severely hampered when governments monitor our communications and
social media activity. Raise your voice and tell the government that you
won't stand for this.

Sign your name to Stanford's open letter
<http://studentsagainstsurveillance.com/stanford/> before Thursday June 5
2014, the anniversary of the Edward Snowden leaks, and please forward this
message widely!

---

We, the members of the Stanford University <http://www.stanford.edu/>
community,
stand together in protest of mass government surveillance and in support of
digital rights, free speech, and academic freedom on campus. In light of
the Edward Snowden leaks, we now know that the NSA has an
unprecedentedability to monitor and record our online and cell phone
communications, creating a virtual map of our day-to-day activities.

We contend that this is a violation of our civil liberties and
constitutional rights, and runs contrary to the core principles of
discovery, learning, and engagement for which Stanford University stands.

Since our country’s inception, Americans have fought and sacrificed to
ensure our basic civil liberties and freedoms, such as free speech and
privacy. Universities in particular have long been bastions for freedom of
thought, learning, communication, and innovation. Stanford’s motto, "Die
Luft der Freiheit weht
<http://www.stanford.edu/dept/pres-provost/president/speeches/951005dieluft.html>,"
is German for “The winds of freedom blow”. But recently that freedom has
come under threat. Mass warrantless surveillance by the NSA has restricted
our ability to freely think, act, research, innovate, and share ideas in a
multitude of ways:

   - NSA surveillance specifically targets foreign nationals, regardless of
   whether they have actually done anything wrong. During this 2013-14 school
   year, international students comprised 8 percent
   <http://facts.stanford.edu/academics/undergraduate-profile> of
   Stanford’s undergraduate population and 33 percent
   <http://facts.stanford.edu/academics/graduate-profile> of our graduate
   population. NSA surveillance creates an atmosphere of fear which
   discourages free speech and expression among such students.
   - According to the NSA’s “three hops” approach, anyone who associates
   with foreign students or scholars is also subject to surveillance. This
   stifles the open exchange of ideas between colleagues and discourages
   research on controversial topics.
   - The NSA’s monitoring and recording of emails and social media activity
   <http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/29/us/nsa-examines-social-networks-of-us-citizens.html?_r=2&pagewanted=all&>
dangerously
   compromises our ability and willingness to collectively organize and engage
   in political discourse.

Mass surveillance and data collection by the NSA is carried out under the
pretext of preventing terrorism, yet a 2013 study by the President’s Review
Group found that this system is ineffective and easily abused
<http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/docs/2013-12-12_rg_final_report.pdf>.
Not only does this practice violate our First and Fourth amendment rights
and basic civil liberties, it contradicts the very values and goals upon
which our university was founded. As such, we call upon all Stanford
students, faculty, and staff to stand together in protest against digital
surveillance on our campus by co-signing this letter. We also call upon
President John Hennessy and our administrative leaders to devise sensible
policies to minimize on-campus surveillance and promote a free and open
atmosphere in which we can all think, learn, and speak without fear.

With hope and respect,

Devon Kristine Zuegel, Class of ‘16

---

Join *The Stanford Review <http://stanfordreview.org/> *and Student Net
Alliance <http://www.studentnetalliance.org/> to sign this open letter
<http://studentsagainstsurveillance.com/stanford/> before June 5 2014, the
anniversary of the Edward Snowden leaks.
---
Devon Zuegel <http://www.stanford.edu/~devonz>
Stanford University '16
B.S. Candidate | Computer Science
Editor-in-Chief  | *The Stanford Review <http://stanfordreview.org>*
Section Leader  |  Stanford CS Department
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