SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS)— Writers around the globe are so concerned with government surveillance they say they are now avoiding, or have considered avoiding, writing about controversial topics.
According to a survey done by the PEN American Center at least 75 percent of those surveyed consider the freedom of expression under attack. And it’s not just certain countries. According to the center’s Executive Director, Suzanne Nossel, writers everywhere have expressed their fears.
“In parts of the world where we thought of writers as perfectly secure—some of the freest counties. Places like Canada, The United Kingdom, and Australia. Writers feel like somebody’s looking over their shoulder,” she said.
Nossel said while some of it may be unnecessary paranoia, there are programs that are shrouded in such secrecy that it’s hard to say who’s being monitored and for what.
The recent Sony hack has kicked things up a notch, according to Nossel.
“Everything we’re doing online and the idea that if somebody were going to intrude or snoop the scope of what they could uncover and the damage they could do is pretty boundless,” she said.
The PEN American Center is advocating for comprehensive reform of the NSA surveillance program and an oversight mechanism so when the government does want to collect information they would have to go through court proceedings.