While, based on their actions, it may seem that ​American politicians don’t really care about NSA surveillance and its impact, the PEN American Center found at least one group out there that does: writers. They hate that shit.

According to a PEN survey, internationally, writers are not only watching their words in light of Edward Snowden’s revelations, they’re watching America’s credibility and that of its allies erode. One respondent went as far as saying that with its international surveillance network “the USA has fundamentally damaged the ‘Western’ model of human and citizen’s rights.”

The initial results of the survey were released today, under the title “Global Chilling,” which, under better circumstances, sounds great, but in this context refers to the rising concern about government surveillance among 772 writers living in 50 countries, and how fear of surveillance is responsible self-censorship in both professional and personal writing.

As the survey stated, “because freedom of expression is so central to writers’ craft, they may be considered particularly sensitive to encroachments on their rights to communicate, obtain and impart information and voice their ideas and opinions.” While it can’t really claim to be representative exactly—respondents had to be connected to a PEN Center in someway, and were ultimately self-selected—but the results of the survey still strongly indicate that the NSA surveillance is already changing what people are willing to say in one unique group, at least.

One striking thing about the responses that PEN received is that writers in democratic, “free” countries are now as likely to say they are “very” or “somewhat” worried about the level government surveillance as writers in “Partly Free,” or “Not Free” countries, as classified by Freedom House.

It’s hard to quantify something like “things left unsaid,” but 34 percent of writers in “Free countries” report having avoided speaking or speaking on a particular topic due to government surveillance, and 31 percent have deliberately steered clear of certain conversation topics in personal phone conversations and email. A higher percentage of writers practice the same precautions in “Partly Free” and “Not Free” countries, but isn’t freedom of speech a pretty essential part of being a “Free country” to begin with?

While the US government is unlikely to care at all about a survey of what a bunch of writers are afraid of, there’s an outside chance that it cares about public perception around the world, which PEN found is one of the deleterious effects of running a global dragnet. “Approximately 6 in 10 writers in both Western Europe (60%) and (57%) in the Five Eyes [Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States] countries think U.S. credibility ‘has been significantly damaged for the long term’ by its surveillance programs,” the survey stated.

Or maybe, if the preservation of “freedom” is really the goal, the security state can start seeing its role in eroding freedoms, and how that looks to US allies and enemies alike.

“The unlawful secret intelligence activities of the U.S. and its closest allies strengthens and encourages totalitarian states and despots through its blatant harm to human and citizen’s rights,” one respondent told PEN. “We are becoming hostages of the self-destruction of the ‘western’ value system.”

The rest of the results will be released in April, according to PEN’s website.