November 21, 2013 | By Katitza Rodriguez

The UN General Assembly Should Pass Strong Privacy Resolution on the Right to Privacy in the Digital Age

After heated negotiations, the draft resolution on digital privacy initiated by Brazil and Germany emerged on November 20 relatively undamaged, despite efforts by the United States and other members of the “Five Eyes” group to weaken its language. Although a compromise avoided naming mass extraterritorial surveillance explicitly as a “human rights violation,” the resolution directs the UN high commissioner for human rights 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 resolution will ensure that this issue stays on the front burner at the UN. A vote on the resolution is expected in the next week.

The resolution would be the first major statement by the UN on privacy in 25 years, crucially reiterating the importance of protecting privacy and free expression in the face of technological advancements and encroaching state power.

“We are deeply concerned that the countries representing the ‘Five Eyes’ surveillance alliance –  the United States, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, and the United Kingdom – have sought to weaken the resolution at the risk of undercutting their own longstanding public commitment to privacy and free expression,” the groups said in their letter.

In adopting this resolution, the General Assembly should take a stand against indiscriminate practices such as mass surveillance, interception, and data collection, both at home and abroad, the groups said. In doing so they will also support the right of all individuals to use information and communications technologies such as the Internet without fear of unwarranted interference.

The groups that signed the letter are:  

Access Now 

Amnesty International

Electronic Frontier Foundation

Human Rights Watch

Privacy International

To read the Open Letter “The United Nations General Assembly Must Uphold Individuals’ Right to Privacy,” please visit:  https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2013/11/ungaletter


Deeplinks Topics

Stay in Touch

NSA Spying

EFF is leading the fight against the NSA's illegal mass surveillance program. Learn more about what the program is, how it works, and what you can do.

Follow EFF

You can support EFF and get DRM-free ebooks about hacking in the Humble Book Bundle featuring @nostarch! https://www.humblebundle.com/...

May 3 @ 3:30pm

Tell your senators to stand up for consumers’ rights and fight forced arbitration. https://www.eff.org/deeplinks...

May 3 @ 2:49pm

The problems with DRM go so much deeper than limiting what you can do with your movies and music. https://www.eff.org/deeplinks... #DayAgainstDRM

May 3 @ 2:38pm
JavaScript license information