The Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Aid, Christoph Strässer, issued the following statement on the report “Enemies of the Internet” published by Reporters without Borders on World Day against Cyber Censorship (12 March):
The internet is an important vehicle for freedom of opinion and the press. Guaranteeing the uncensored use of, and protecting privacy in, the internet is of key importance.
The conclusion drawn by Reporters without Borders in their report “Enemies of the Internet” is thus very disturbing. It shows that surveillance and censorship are on the rise.
Access limitations and registration obligations, slowing down or cutting off internet connections as well as using surveillance techniques are standard operating procedure in order to silence critical voices fighting against oppressive regimes.
However, surveillance is not limited to authoritarian states, it also takes place in democracies. The massive use of surveillance techniques in western countries does great damage to the credibility of our commitment to democracy and human rights!
Businesses have a duty not to supply surveillance technologies to dictatorial regimes which use them to violate human rights.
We need to stand up resolutely for unlimited internet access and the protection of privacy on the worldwide web and see to it that great caution is exercised when providing, exporting and using surveillance technologies.
Reporters without Borders will publish their report “Enemies of the Internet” on Wednesday, 12 March 2014. The report mentions 32 authorities and institutions worldwide which limit free internet use in various ways.