UN Special Report on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression

by Sabrina I. Pacifici on June 2, 2013

Report of the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, Frank La Rue. United National General Assembly, Human Rights Council, April 17, 2013.
  1. “The present report analyses the implications of States’ surveillance of communications for the exercise of the human rights to privacy and to freedom of opinion and expression. While considering the impact of significant technological advances in communications, the report underlines the urgent need to further study new modalities of surveillance and to revise national laws regulating these practices in line with human rights standards.
  2. Innovations in technology have increased the possibilities for communication and protections of free expression and opinion, enabling anonymity, rapid information-sharing and cross-cultural dialogues. Technological changes have concurrently increased opportunities for State surveillance and interventions into individuals’ private communications.
  3. Concerns about national security and criminal activity may justify the exceptional use of communications surveillance technologies. However, national laws regulating what would constitute the necessary, legitimate and proportional State involvement in communications surveillance are often inadequate or non-existent. Inadequate national legal frameworks create a fertile ground for arbitrary and unlawful infringements of the right to privacy in communications and, consequently, also threaten the protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression.”

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