UN Votes for Symbolic Online Privacy Resolution

by Sabrina I. Pacifici on December 21, 2013

Reuters: “The UN General Assembly has unanimously called on a curb of supernormal surveillance of communications. The resolution drafted by Brazil and Germany was in response to revelations over the eavesdropping conducted by the US on a global scale. All 193 UN member states agreed “to respect and protect the right to privacy, including in the context of digital communication.” The document maintains that internationally recognized human rights should be applied to a person online, specifically singling out the right of privacy. The resolution suggests making sure national legislation complies with international human rights law to prevent possible breaches.

“While concerns about public security may justify the gathering and protection of certain sensitive information, States must ensure full compliance with their obligations under international human rights law,” the resolution states.

The resolution calls for internationally recognized rights to privacy, extension of internet freedom and urges to put an end to global electronic espionage. The document stresses that interception of communications and collection of personal data by state surveillance should be more transparent and accountable.

For that reason countries should “review their procedures, practices and legislation regarding the surveillance of communications, their interception and collection of personal data, including mass surveillance, interception and collection, with a view to upholding the right to privacy of all their obligations under international human rights law.”

Unlike resolutions of the 15 member UN Security Council, the UN General Assembly resolution is not legally binding, but it still represents the international opinion on the issue and is important politically.”

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