PPF Blog

Victory for Students Against Surveillance Question

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Excited to share our latest official answer on AskThem – The President of New York University, John Sexton, addressed institutional privacy protections in response to a question from the student-led digital rights group, the Student Net Alliance.

In the wake of NSA dragnet bulk collection and the NYPD’s rampant post-9/11 surveillance of the Muslim community, NYU students and faculty mobilized a protest against the “U.S. surveillance state and the chilling effects it has on campus life…” in order to “explore ideas and experiment without fear of retribution.”

We’re happy to take part in Students Against Surveillance campaign with our sponsored petition to NYU asking “Will you support student privacy?” After sharing the announcement, Student Net Alliance founder Alec Foster spoke to the stronghold of student activism – “We’re excited for SNA members to mobilize students against surveillance campaigns across campuses nationwide. And with tools like AskThem at our fingertips, we’re out-maneuvering the opposition and achieving results.” Thanks to Alec’s active support, we’ve helped SNA student activists direct similar questions on net freedom to other universities with verified Twitter accounts.

John Sexton, President of NYU, spoke to the “importance of acting aggressively and with every means at our disposal to secure and protect every element essential to the general enterprise of free inquiry, the centrality of standards and the reciprocal commitments attendant to citizenship within the sanctuary.”

Read the full Q+A on the question page.

Congratulations to the Students Net Alliance and NYU students for garnering a response from a powerful institution and leading the way for local student activism! By gathering enough signatures to demonstrate a popular demand for an answer, they succeeded in getting a statement on the public record. Now the conversation can continue about their policy suggestions for university communities and forthcoming digital privacy news.

Read the entirety of the “Students Against Surveillance” letter here.

On AskThem, you can create your own campaign to any institution or public figure with a verified Twitter account. For example, circulate your own petition to the NYPD on the dissolution of the Muslim surveillance program or follow up on student privacy protections with other NYC universities and cultural institutions.

If you’re not sure how to get started, send a note to our Community Manager at maryam@askthem.io. Drop a line anytime!


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