Snowden Treaty Launched: Effort To Get Countries To End Mass Surveillance

from the end-mass-surveillance dept

David Miranda (who you may recall from the time he was detained at Heathrow under the UK’s anti-terrorism laws… for being a journalist and having some encrypted Ed Snowden documents on him) has recently been talking up a new project called the Snowden Treaty, which is an attempt to get an international treaty that would get countries to commit to ending mass surveillance.

The International Treaty on the Right to Privacy, Protection Against Improper Surveillance and Protection of Whistleblowers, or the Snowden Treaty, is a proposed international treaty for states that reaffirms and protects fundamental human rights ? especially the right to privacy, a vital prerequisite for freedom of speech and association ? in the context of the disturbing revelations by Edward Snowden. The treaty was developed by experts in international law and legal experts on Internet freedoms and surveillance.

Signatories to the treaty will be obliged to enact concrete changes to outlaw mass surveillance. The Treaty would also develop international protections for whistleblowers.

As well as being required to make changes to legislation and practices to end mass surveillance, signatory states also must consider data protection and the right to privacy in all future programs and policies. This will make the preservation of privacy a fundamental responsibility of governments, ensuring the protection of these fundamental human rights for generations to come.

Apparently the plan is to really hold any countries that sign on to this:

Oversight of state surveillance will also be stepped up. Signatories will be required to establish independent national supervision to ensure public transparency and accountability in their surveillance-related activities. They will also commit to undertaking comprehensive reviews of existing surveillance practices every 5 years, with their results made public.

The treaty greatly strengthens protections for whistleblowers above those already existing in international law. Whistleblowers will not be subject to sanctions for publicly releasing information with the reasonable intent of exposing wrongdoing. The treaty also commits signatories to take meaningful action to address violations of the right to privacy, access to information or to free and secure communications revealed by a whistleblower.

Whistleblowers will also be protected from the actions of non-signatories; by signing the treaty states guarantee the right of residence in their countries and embassies for people claiming to be persecuted as whistleblowers until the appropriate proceedings for permanent asylum have been carried out in full. This will overcome the problems Snowden faced when certain countries claimed they were unable to offer asylum until he applied for it from their soil

Of course, chances of the US signing on to this are basically nil, but it will be interesting to see if other countries think it’s worth supporting. Countries that have tried to hold themselves out as bastions of free speech and against mass surveillance might make interesting targets. But, of course, actually getting countries to commit to such things isn’t always easy. Still, the effort seems worthwhile, even if it merely raises the issue of what kind of world do we live in that such a thing should even be necessary?

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Comments on “Snowden Treaty Launched: Effort To Get Countries To End Mass Surveillance”

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Ninja (profile) says:

what kind of world do we live in that such a thing should even be necessary?

Gosh I’m emphasizing this. I thought exactly that right after the title.

But thinking for a while isn’t it exactly what happens from time to time in history? Some idiot(s) reach the power and proceed to oppress those that can’t fight back until a portion of society (sometimes from the bottom, other times from the same ‘aristocracy) decides it’s enough and start doing something about it.

Of course sometimes it involves vampire hunting, beheading and superhuman abilities but that’s another story.

Vick says:

Re: Elites fear us waking up...

“what kind of world do we live in that such a thing should even be necessary?”

Science on reasoning:

The (mass surveillance) by the NSA and abuse by law enforcement is just more part and parcel of state suppression of dissent against corporate interests. They’re worried that the more people are going to wake up and corporate centers like the US and canada may be among those who also awaken. See this vid with Zbigniew Brzezinski, former United States National Security Advisor.

Brezinski at a press conference–QCYY

The real news:

Protectionism for the rich and big business by state intervention, radical market interference.


Manufacturing consent:

Those of you concerned about spying, check out this thread:

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

ha ha ha ha…

its NEVER!!! gonna happen. Government will always surveil/spy as much and as often as they can possibly get away with it, and just as laws against drugs will create a black market on drugs complete with government involvement by corrupted officials, so shall laws against mass surveillance create an underbelly in the government because people will always default trust power.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Even if they weren’t holdouts, how could you POSSIBLY verify that nobody in your government was into mass surveillance?

Nuclear weapons testing is easy to verify: the ground shakes, or “the air becomes uranious”. Mass Surveillance is really kinda hard to distinguish from any other mass data warehousing unless you’re able to spot the “tap on the line”.

And even if you get the US government to sign off on it, what keeps Facebook, Twitter, or etc from doing their own version of data trawling … over data eagerly handed to them by worshippers, or inferred by the accesses made by non-believers?

Anonymous Coward says:

considering that ‘land of the free’ is part of the whole being of the USA and that the way the UK held freedom and privacy as core values, condemning countries like Iran and N.Korea for their surveillance and oppression of their peoples, only to do a complete about turn and become worse than the countries they previously condemned, shows exactly the society we now live in! there are so many politicians who cant see anything but threats to their way of life that they make their way of life worse than if there were constant terrorist happenings! the head of one of the UK security forces just last week spoke about how terrorist threats had been quashed! it sounded very much as if he was reading off the FBI hymn sheet! when no evidence has to be given, there can be 50 supposed plots every day and no one would be able to denounce what is said. absolute bullshit, in my view!
what people need to have a choice over is being watched constantly by the government, (which is only interested in making sure that no one is earning any money without paying tax on it, traveling abroad constantly, receiving benefits when not entitled to them or something else completely nefarious) or watched occasionally even if it is to do people harm. in this situation, if the security forces dont get wind of the plot and cant stop it from happening, they sure as hell aren’t going to be any more able to stop it because they know i went on holiday, went shopping, saw my mum, wrote or called a friend or relative or some other uninteresting event. and the more uninteresting events that have to be ploughed through, the harder, not easier it will be to find the event that needs attending to! but then i am trying to be a bit sensible!!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: At least someone's trying...

Indeed. Gotta give the guy props for doing something.

Sure most countries wouldn’t sign, and wouldn’t obey if they did. But getting people talking about why their country won’t sign is still a win. This isn’t completely futile, folks, because even if it “fails” it still accomplishes something.

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