Report on Snowden – Government apathy but increased public concern

By EDRi · June 18, 2014

In the wake of the first anniversary of Edward Snowden’s first revelations, a global analysis was published, assessing  the international impact of those disclosures.

The report, “A crisis of Accountability” revealed not only that had most governments entirely ignored the Snowden revelations, but that some governments including the US and the UK have been actively campaigning to dissuade nations from undertaking reform of their security services. Two thirds of legal professionals and technology experts from 29 countries surveyed for the report said that they could recall no tangible measure taken by government.

More than forty authors from eighteen countries contributed to the report, from organisations including EDRi, EDRi members the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Access and Digital Rights Ireland, as well as OpenMedia, Privacy International and Reporters without Borders,and key academics, legal specialists and researchers.

The 90-page report was published by veteran activist Simon Davies of Privacy Surgeon in association with the University of Amsterdam and the Vrije Universiteit Brussel.

The analysis determined that, despite the fact that a large majority of governments have not responded in any “tangible, measurable way” to the disclosures, a significant positive global shift in public and political consciousness had been triggered.

Both the authors and the survey respondents reported a noticeable shift in thinking around the world toward increased awareness of the importance of accountability, transparency and the rule of law with regard to both the activities of security agencies and the value of privacy. This shift – in many parts of the world – has empowered civil society, created a resurgence of interest in legal protections and sensitised media to key issues that have hitherto escaped public scrutiny at any substantial level.

One of the most interesting findings was that despite a perception that the Snowden disclosures have became a global news story, reports from the majority of the countries, excluding the US, indicate that media coverage has been minimal or non-existent. Concern was expressed that the story was “owned” as a proprietary package by the Anglo-American press and was of little direct relevance to most parts of the world. This perception only shifted at the local level when such countries as Pakistan and Mexico were specifically cited in leaked documents.

Report: A crisis of Accountability (10.06.2014)

The Privacy Surgeon

(Contribution by Simon Davies, EDRi observer)