Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

If you’ve been waiting for the right time to support our work—that time is now.

Our mission is simple: To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good.

But without the support of our readers, this model does not work and we simply won’t survive. It’s that simple.
We must meet our Mid-Year Campaign goal but we need you now.

Please, support independent journalism today.

Join the small group of generous readers who donate, keeping Common Dreams free for millions of people each year. Without your help, we won’t survive.

The Snowden Treaty would "curtail mass surveillance and protect the rights of whistleblowers." (Photo: greensefa/flickr/cc)

'The Snowden Treaty': Pact to End Mass Spying Would Honor NSA Whistleblower

Edward Snowden, Laura Poitras, Glenn Greenwald, and David Miranda propose new pact for global privacy rights

Nadia Prupis

Two years after NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden's revelations made global headlines, a new international pact for privacy rights is being launched—the Snowden Treaty, an agreement that would "curtail mass surveillance and protect the rights of whistleblowers."

"Protecting the right to privacy is vital not just in itself but because it is essential requirement for exercise of freedom of opinion and expression, the most fundamental pillars of democracy," the drafters—Snowden, journalists Laura Poitras and Glenn Greenwald, and Greenwald's partner David Miranda—explain in their proposal, which will be formally introduced at a press conference on Thursday and encourages both individual citizens and global governments to sign up.

The proposal states:

  • We demand for privacy on the internet.
  • We demand that the government grant us the right to privacy in our homes.
  • We demand that the government protect our personal privacy online.

Launched along with the website SnowdenTreaty.org, the pact is officially titled the International Treaty on the Right to Privacy, Protection Against Improper Surveillance and Protection of Whistleblowers (pdf).

"Signatories to the treaty will be obliged to enact concrete changes to outlaw mass surveillance. The Treaty would also develop international protections for whistleblowers," the pact states.

Snowden's 2013 leak of NSA documents exposing the government's invasive spying programs, along with Poitras' and Greenwald's reporting on the scandal, propelled surveillance reform to the forefront of global consciousness.

"This breach of millions of people’s privacy is in direct contravention of international human right law. In particular, the right to privacy is enshrined in Article 12 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and Article 17 of the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights," the drafters write.

"Snowden's revelations about the scope and scale of mass surveillance and espionage, and the immense costs he is personally paying for disclosing these human rights abuses, calls for concerted multilateral action to protect our rights and the rights of whistleblowers," the treaty continues.

Among the treaty's early signatories are three well-known activists—scholar and linguist Noam Chomsky, actor Jon Cusack, and director Oliver Stone, whose latest project is a biopic of Snowden.

Snowden currently lives in exile from the U.S. in Russia. His efforts have been credited by renowned whistleblowers like Daniel Ellsberg and Thomas Drake for helping change American surveillance law.

The pact is also being promoted by the Courage Foundation, which was launched in the wake of the NSA leaks to help provide legal support and protections for whistleblowers. They will tweet Thursday's press conference under the hashtag #SnowdenTreaty:


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

"I'm sure this will be all over the corporate media, right?"
That’s what one longtime Common Dreams reader said yesterday after the newsroom reported on new research showing how corporate price gouging surged to a nearly 70-year high in 2021. While major broadcasters, newspapers, and other outlets continue to carry water for their corporate advertisers when they report on issues like inflation, economic inequality, and the climate emergency, our independence empowers us to provide you stories and perspectives that powerful interests don’t want you to have. But this independence is only possible because of support from readers like you. You make the difference. If our support dries up, so will we. Our crucial Mid-Year Campaign is now underway and we are in emergency mode to make sure we raise the necessary funds so that every day we can bring you the stories that corporate, for-profit outlets ignore and neglect. Please, if you can, support Common Dreams today.

 

80+ US Prosecutors Vow Not to Be Part of Criminalizing Abortion Care

"Criminalizing and prosecuting individuals who seek or provide abortion care makes a mockery of justice," says a joint statement signed by 84 elected attorneys. "Prosecutors should not be part of that."

Kenny Stancil ·


Progressives Rebuke Dem Leadership as Clyburn Dismisses Death of Roe as 'Anticlimactic'

"The gap between the Democratic leadership, and younger progressives on the question of 'How Bad Is It?' is just enormous."

Julia Conley ·


In 10 Key US Senate Races, Here's How Top Candidates Responded to Roe Ruling

While Republicans unanimously welcomed the Supreme Court's rollback of half a century of reproductive rights, one Democrat said "it's just wrong that my granddaughter will have fewer freedoms than my grandmother did."

Brett Wilkins ·


Sanders Says End Filibuster to Combat 'Outrageous' Supreme Court Assault on Abortion Rights

"If Republicans can end the filibuster to install right-wing judges to overturn Roe v. Wade, Democrats can and must end the filibuster, codify Roe v. Wade, and make abortion legal and safe," said the Vermont senator.

Jake Johnson ·


Patients in Trigger-Ban States Immediately Denied Abortion Care in Post-Roe US

Some people scheduled to receive abortions were turned away within minutes of the right-wing Supreme Court's decision to strike down Roe v. Wade.

Kenny Stancil ·

Common Dreams Logo