More than 500 of the world’s most notable authors have signed an open appeal calling for an end to the extreme surveillance of the NSA spying program as revealed by the whistleblower Edward Snowden .
The authors, five of which are Nobel prize winners, hail from 81 countries and include: Margaret Atwood, Orhan Pamuk, Ian McEwan, Gunter Grass, Michael Ondaatje, Kazou Ishiguro, Don DeLillo and Yann Martel.
The authors state that the immense capability the intelligence agencies have in spying on millions of people means that everyone is becoming a potential suspect.
“A person under surveillance is no longer free; a society under surveillance is no longer a democracy,” the petition reads.
“To maintain any validity, our democratic rights must apply in virtual as in real space.”
They are urging the United Nations to implement an international bill of digital rights that will protect the civil rights of billions in this technological age.
This comes upon the heels of an open letter published Monday by tech-based giants like Google, Apple, Facebook, Microsoft, and Twitter, urging U.S. President Barack Obama to change the laws regarding surveillance and spying in the United States.
The letters follow this summer's revelations by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden, who leaked details of the secret programs that critics argue violate privacy rights.
Intelligence officials have argued such tactics help disrupt terror attacks, but these companies and authors counter that officials should still have sensible limitations.