NEW YORK—PEN American Center welcomes the announcement this morning by Apple, Google, Facebook, and other leading technology companies of an open letter calling on the U.S. government to adopt proposed Global Government Surveillance Reform Principles. “We applaud leaders of the world’s most influential technology companies for taking a stand in favor of reasserting the protections necessary to enable freedom of expression in an age of surveillance run amok,” said Suzanne Nossel, Executive Director of PEN American Center.

“As our new study of over 500 American writers revealed this fall, encroaching NSA surveillance is intruding upon the privacy necessary to create, leading nearly one in four writers to censor their communications, research, and writings. It is vital that technology leaders use their clout in the marketplace and in Washington to push back against this troubling trend and stand with their users in defending the zone of privacy and creativity necessary for a free society to flourish. We call upon other technology corporations, including the telecommunications firms that are vital links for both private communications and for surveillance, to join this critical drive.

In November, PEN American Center released Chilling Effects: NSA Surveillance Drives U.S. Writers to Self-Censor, a report based on a survey of over 500 writers that revealed for the first time that NSA surveillance is causing American writers to censor themselves. The report can be found at https://pen.org/chilling-effects

###

Founded in 1922, PEN American Center is a nationwide alliance of 3,800 writers working to bring down barriers to free expression.

For more information, contact:

Suzanne Nossel, Executive Director, (212) 334-1660 ext 103,  snossel@pen.org
Deji Olukotun, Freedom to Write Fellow, (212) 334-1660 ext 106, deji@pen.org