We Can Choose an Internet Without Surveillance
The surveillance dystopia is building up all around us, and the business model that has taken over the internet is largely to blame. In the surveillance economy, whenever we choose to use an application or a device, we are often forced to subject ourselves to unrestricted abuse of our private data. ISPs and big corporations are not only logging our activities, but often selling that information to third party data analysis and marketing companies like Cambridge Analytica and Dataminr.
The effects of the surveillance economy are terrifying. Our online activity has been used to influence elections by shaping how politically motivated entities can spread personally targeted misinformation. We have also seen these companies sign contracts with law enforcement and authoritarian governments to use this information to unjustly target activists, minorities, and at-risk communities.
Even if you have not immediately felt or experienced a direct consequence of being surveilled, the idea you may be surveilled can have chilling consequences on your daily life.
PEN America surveyed over 520 American writers to understand if and how surveillance was influencing their work. 1 in 6 writers said they had avoided speaking or writing on a topic they thought would subject them to surveillance.
Just the fear of surveillance can turn us into self-censors. This fear can stop us from exercising intellectual freedom and curiosity. If we think we are being watched, our behavior changes. Our mental state changes as well. According to research conducted by Christopher Burr at the Digital Ethics Lab at the University of Oxford, the effects of surveillance on the brain can “be just as mentally taxing as mental disorders like depression, and can even cause symptoms similar to post-traumatic stress disorder.”
The internet is not just a network of computers—it’s a network of people. We hold great power in deciding its future. One way of taking back the internet is to use Tor and Tor Browser to shield ourselves from unwarranted surveillance by governments, corporations, or bad actors. Websites and any associated trackers won’t know who we are unless we tell them, and anyone monitoring our network can only see that we’re using Tor, not what we’re reading or who we’re talking to. And for people in particular hostile environments, Tor bridges can even make it harder to see that you’re using Tor.
By supporting the Tor Project, you help develop tools for internet freedom, improve their accessibility, and ensure that Tor reaches the people who need it the most, including people in repressive regimes where Tor is blocked. We are on a mission to take back the internet. Join us.
Donate today, and Mozilla will match every dollar of your donation.
The surveillance dystopia is not inevitable. Many of us still have the choice to support a decentralized internet, one free of mass surveillance. Donate today, and take back the internet with us.