Stephen Fry, Bianca Jagger Sign Petition Against Mass State Surveillance

Stephen Fry.
Stephen Fry.
 Dave Hogan/Getty Images

LONDON -- Stephen Fry, Bianca Jagger and Anish Kapoor are among the high profile names from the arts and entertainment worlds to sign an online petition to end mass surveillance by the NSA, GCHQ and other governments.

Celebrities, artists, activists and politicians have all signed the petition calling for Europe’s leaders to oppose mass surveillance by the US, U.K. and other governments, in light of the revelations made by whistleblower Edward Snowden.

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Supporters of the petition also include writer AL Kennedy, blogger Cory Doctorow and Icelandic politician Kolbrun Halldorsdottir.

15 international non-governmental organizations are also backing the petition.

Fry said: "Privacy and freedom from state intrusion is important for everyone. You can't just scream 'terrorism' and use it as an excuse for Orwellian snooping."

Index on Censorship's director of campaigns and policy Marek Marczynski said that since the revelations about the activities of the NSA and GCHQ, Europe’s heads of state "have been slow to take action over the mass surveillance of European and other citizens."

He said although some have voiced concerns, "there has been no commitment to taking joint action. People from around the world are signing Index’s petition because they want Europe’s leaders to say no to mass surveillance, and condemn it as both an invasion of privacy and a threat to free speech."

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As well as calling for Europe’s leaders to state on the record their opposition to mass surveillance, the petition demands that mass surveillance is on the agenda at the next European Council Summit in October.

Snowden made headlines in the spring after leaking several documents about the U.S. government’s secret surveillance of ordinary citizens around the world.

The petition is supported by Index on Censorship, English PEN, Article 19, Privacy International, Open Rights Group and Liberty, European Federation of Journalists, International Federation of Journalists, PEN International, PEN Canada, PEN Portugal, Electronic Frontier Foundation, PEN Emergency Fund, Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE) and the National Union of Somali Journalists.

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