Nov 25 2013

UN Resolution on Privacy Rights: World Fights Back Against US Surveillance

Using the United Nations as a vehicle, countries around the world are fighting back against vast and indiscriminate US-led violations of privacy of both ordinary people and government officials. A draft resolution entitled “The Right to Privacy in a Digital Age,” was initiated last week by Germany and Brazil whose leaders, President Dilma Rousseff and Chancellor Angela Merkel, were alleged to be have been spied upon by the NSA.

Opposition to the resolution has come primarily from the alliance of states that share surveillance data known as the “Five Eyes” consisting of the United States, Canada, New Zealand, Australian and the United Kingdom. But despite the group’s efforts to weaken the draft, it has remained relatively unchanged.

A number of international organizations including Access Now, Amnesty International, Electronic Frontier Foundation, Human Rights Watch and Privacy International wrote an open letter to the UN General Assembly saying among other things, that “A strong resolution would crucially reiterate the importance of protecting privacy and free expression in the face of technological advancements and encroaching State power.”

To date the UN resolution represents is the strongest international unified opposition to the US’s surveillance practices and comes after of six months of on-going revelations published by news outlets like the Guardian, New York Times, and Washington Post that have generated widespread outrage globally.

A vote on the resolution is expected next week. A debate is currently pending in the General Assembly’s Third Committee.

GUEST: Carly Nyst, Head of International Advocacy at Privacy International, Katitza Rodriguez, International Rights Director with the Electronic Frontier Foundation

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