Twenty-nine experts in privacy and technology have sent a letter to US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to urge that the United States begin the process of ratification of the Council of Europe Convention on Privacy. More than forty countries have ratified the Convention, which was opened for signature on January 28, 1981. The letter calls attention to Secretary Clinton's recent remarks on Internet Freedom and the Madrid Declaration in which civil society groups have urged countries that have not yet ratified the Council of Europe Convention to do so as soon as possible. The signatories state, "privacy is a fundamental human right. In the 21st century, it may become one of the most critical human rights of all."