Your Source for Leaks Around the World!

UN Human Rights Committee Unanimously Approves Digital Privacy Resolution

In Archive, Internet, Surveillance, UN on November 27, 2013 at 10:18 PM

UN “Right to Privacy in the Digital Age” Draft (Original/Revised Comparison)

11/26/2013

AP:

The U.N. General Assembly’s human rights committee on Tuesday unanimously adopted a resolution sponsored by Brazil and Germany to protect the right to privacy against unlawful surveillance, following months of reports about U.S. eavesdropping abroad.

The symbolic resolution, which seeks to extend personal privacy rights to all people, followed a series of disclosures of U.S. eavesdropping on foreign leaders, including Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, that surprised and angered allies.

The resolution expresses deep concern at “the negative impact” that such surveillance, “in particular when carried out on a mass scale, may have on the exercise and enjoyment of human rights.”

The draft resolution directs the U.N. human rights chief to report to the Human Rights Council and the General Assembly on the protection and promotion of privacy “in the context of domestic and extraterritorial surveillance … including on a mass scale.”

The United States did not fight the measure after it engaged in lobbying last week with Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, which comprise the “Five Eyes” intelligence-sharing group, to dilute some of the draft resolution’s language.

The key compromise dropped the contention that the domestic and international interception and collection of communications and personal data, “in particular massive surveillance,” may constitute a human rights violation.

Human Rights Watch’s general counsel, Dina PoKempner, said Tuesday that though the resolution was “watered down” it is still a “vital first step toward stigmatizing indiscriminate global surveillance as a wide-scale violation of human rights.”

The director of the human rights program at the American Civil Liberties Union, Jamil Dakwar, said, “Yet again, the U.S. is paying lip service to human rights when it comes to holding intelligence services accountable overseas. It is regrettable that the U.S. is investing time to circumvent the universal human right to privacy rather than setting a new course by ending dragnet surveillance.”

The consensus adoption of the resolution means it should also unanimously pass the whole 193-member General Assembly in December. General Assembly resolutions aren’t legally binding but reflect world opinion and carry political weight.

Last week, five major human rights and privacy groups — Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, The Electronic Frontier Foundation, Access and Privacy International — wrote an open letter to the UN saying this will guarantee that the privacy issue stays on the front burner at the United Nations.

More than 299 human rights and privacy organizations worldwide launched Tuesday a petition in support of what they call “International Principles on the Application of Human Rights to Communications Surveillance.” The document, which is also known as the “Necessary and Proportionate Principles,” lists 13 policies that governments must follow to protect human rights in an age of digital surveillance. The signed petition will be submitted to the U.N., world leaders and policy makers.

UPDATE: UN General Assembly Unanimously Adopts Digital Privacy Resolution

  1. […] three weeks ago, Brazil led the United Nations Human Rights Committee to recognize for the first time in history that privacy does not stop where the digital network starts, and that […]

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: