Organized by digital rights group Fight for the Future, leading pro-privacy tech projects from around the world are speaking out on the need to preserve privacy in the 118th Congress.
A group of 35+ privacy-preserving projects including Tor, Tutanota, Nym, Mysterium, Zcash, Filecoin Foundation, Proton, and MobileCoin are calling on the new US Congress to center the human right to privacy when crafting crypto regulations.
The call comes in an open letter that states in part “…the incredible creative power of US software developers is being chilled by clumsy, misguided legislative and regulatory actions. Open source code makes our digital economy more resilient…US-built privacy tools protect not only US journalists, protestors, abuse survivors, and traditionally marginalized people, but also people around the globe with fewer freedoms.”
Read the full letter and view the signatories at: https://www.fightforthefuture.org/news/2023-01-09-open-letter-for-the-sake-of-freedom-and-democracy-incoming-lawmakers-must-defend-privacy/
Amid 2022 efforts to rein in fraud and grift from cryptocurrency scammers, concerning policies emerged alongside harmful legislation that threaten the larger open source software ecosystem and the future of privacy-preserving technologies in the US. The letter pushes back against regulatory and legislative actions that undermine rights and freedoms such as privacy, security, access to knowledge, freedom of expression, self-determination, and freedom of the press.
The letter is also still collecting signatures from additional open source, decentralized, and/or privacy-preserving projects and organizations at https://airtable.com/shrwrksX9U0W2Xwmi
“Privacy is a fundamental human right, and the backbone of a free and democratic society,” said General Counsel of Nym Technologies Ahmed Ghappour (he/him), who is also an Associate Professor of Law at Boston University School of Law. “In the digital age, this requires a re-imagination of the centralized architectures underpinning big tech, and the freedom to design, and use, technology that protects user privacy and security by default at all levels of the technology stack.”
“Electric Coin Co. has wholeheartedly joined this global call for incoming US lawmakers to defend privacy,” said Paul Brigner (he/him), Head of U.S. Policy and Strategic Advocacy at Electric Coin Co., the developers of Zcash – a cryptocurrency that employs zero-knowledge proof technology and end-to-end encryption to protect private transactional information and empower economic freedom. “Zcash and the related technologies we build to preserve user privacy are essential for giving individuals around the world an opportunity to have economic freedom. Protecting the right to privacy and the right to code is crucial for building a more secure and resilient digital future. We urge lawmakers to take a bold stance in favor of pro-privacy policies, including end-to-end encryption, and oppose any attempts to thwart the use or development of privacy-preserving tools. Only by defending the privacy of all individuals can we hope to build a truly democratic and free society.”
“By and large, lawmakers understand the threat that surveillance of our everyday movements and our conversations poses to our privacy and democratic process, often speaking out against such overreaches,” said Lia Holland (they/she), Campaigns and Communications Director at Fight for the Future, which organized the letter. “It’s a federal crime to open someone else’s mail, and our fourth amendment is supposed to prevent unreasonable search of our papers—but these rights and freedoms have not carried over into our digital lives. Lawmakers have failed to protect our digital privacy for far too long, leaving market solutions as the only practical defense anyone has against unreasonable and constant digital surveillance. The 117th Congress repeatedly undermined the only options we have to maintain our privacy rights by mandating more financial surveillance, chilling the creation of privacy-preserving tools, and questioning the constitutional rights of open source software developers. This long line of cascading legislative failures when it comes to the basic human right to privacy is unconscionable. We look forward to boldly defending digital privacy and those who create it in 2023.”