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EDRi booklets

Protect privacy against unchecked Internet surveillance!

25 September, 2013

EDRi joined a huge international coalition in calling upon European and UN institutions to assess whether national and international surveillance laws and activities are in line with their international human rights obligations.

EDRi has endorsed a set of international principles against unchecked surveillance. The 13 Principles set out for the first time an evaluative framework for assessing surveillance practices in the context of international human rights obligations.

A group of civil society organizations officially presented the 13 Principles on 20 September 2013 in Geneva at a side event attended by Navi Pillay, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression and Opinion, Frank LaRue, during the 24th session of the Human Rights Council. The side event was hosted by the Permanent Missions of Austria, Germany, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland and Hungary.

Navi Pillay, speaking at the event, said that: “technological advancements have been powerful tools for democracy by giving access to all to participate in society, but increasing use of data mining by intelligence agencies blurs lines between legitimate surveillance and arbitrary mass surveillance."

Frank La Rue made clear the case for a direct relationship between state surveillance, privacy and freedom of expression in this latest report to the Human Rights Council: “The right to privacy is often understood as an essential requirement for the realization of the right to freedom of expression. Undue interference with individuals’ privacy can both directly and indirectly limit the free development and exchange of ideas. … An infringement upon one right can be both the cause and consequence of an infringement upon the other.”

Speaking at the event, the UN Special Rapporteur remarked that: “previously surveillance was carried out on targeted basis but the Internet has changed the context by providing the possibility for carrying out mass surveillance. This is the danger.”

13 International Principles on the Application of Human Rights to Communications Surveillance

The UN High Commissioner Says Privacy Is a Human Right (20.09.2013)

The United Nations Meets 13 Principles Against Unchecked Surveillance (20.09.2013)

The third hearing of the European Parliament's Civil Liberties Committee into surveillance of and by EU member states (24.09.2013)



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