Privacy

by Glyn Moody


Filed Under:
privacy, rapporteur, surveillance, uk, un, us



UN Appoints Special Expert To Report On Online Privacy; Surprisingly, US And UK Don't Object

from the wonders-will-never-cease dept

The world of online privacy was changed forever by Edward Snowden's revelations of massive, global spying by the US, UK and others. And the repercussions of his actions continue to make themselves felt. Two countries particularly affected by the surveillance conducted against them, Germany and Brazil, have led efforts to appoint a new rapporteur (special expert) for privacy at the United Nations Human Rights Council, and with surprising success. Despite fears that the US or UK might try to block the move, or neuter the role, they both accepted the following resolution, which was adopted by consensus, without a vote:

The Council invites the Special Rapporteur to include in the first report considerations on the right to privacy in the digital age; calls upon all States to cooperate fully with and assist the Special Rapporteur in the performance of the mandate, including by providing all necessary information requested by him or her, to respond promptly to his or her urgent appeals and other communications, to consider favourably the mandate holder’s requests to visit their countries and to consider implementing the recommendations made by the mandate holder in his or her reports.
It will be interesting to see what happens when the Rapporteur comes calling on the NSA and GCHQ asking for more details of their surveillance operations. The resolution affirmed a general right to privacy:
according to which no one shall be subjected to arbitrary or unlawful interference with his or her privacy, family, home or correspondence, and the right to the protection of the law against such interference...; recognizes the global and open nature of the Internet and the rapid advancement in information and communications technology as a driving force in accelerating progress towards development in its various forms; and affirms that the same rights that people have offline must also be protected online, including the right to privacy.
The Rapporteur will have no real powers to demand information or enforce recommendations. But at the very least, the creation of this new role will help to increase international awareness of the importance of privacy in the digital world, and of the scale of the threats ranged against it.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Mar 2015 @ 3:00pm

    And there I wondered

    why the US or UK would accept such an atrocity.

    "The Rapporteur will have no real powers to demand information or enforce recommendations."

    But then I got corrected in my believes. Because the only reason either state, UK or US, wouldn't vote against a person like is if that person does have no power at all.

    Which of course means that the quote " Two countries particularly affected by the surveillance conducted against them, Germany and Brazil," are totally fine with being played and spyed upon by the US and UK.

    If anyone doubted the fact that at least one of those countries aka Germany is deeply nested in the...behind, butt, ass or whatever is politcly correct of the US then now is the time to rethink your point of view.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Mar 2015 @ 6:08pm

    Surprisingly, US And UK Don't Object

    This can mean only one thing: that the fix is already in.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Mar 2015 @ 7:56pm

    It's a step forward for digital society. Even if it's only a symbolic step.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 28 Mar 2015 @ 4:15am

      Re:

      I guess UK and US are banking on the backdoor legislations to be unaffected or they are going to pull the "UN is undermining our freedom!"-line that the extreme right has been running in the past.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 28 Mar 2015 @ 8:28am

    >no real powers
    Sums up the UN quite nicely. While well meaning, these exercises are farcical.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      BernardoVerda (profile), 30 Mar 2015 @ 4:32pm

      Re:

      >> no real powers
      > Sums up the UN quite nicely. While well meaning, these exercises are farcical.

      Well, get away from the General Assembly and the UN Security Council, and look instead towards the various, other UN institutions -- the UN Organizations are where the real work gets done.

      I especially like the WHO, myself, but other UNOs do useful and valuable work, as well, (even the "controversial" ones like the IPCC).

      There's a lot to criticize at the UN -- especially at the top of the pyramid, which gets the lion's share of the press. But that's because the participants at the top are mostly busy playing politics, rather than focusing on their alleged purpose. Down on the actual work-floor, the motivations and focus (and even effectiveness) are often much improved.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Chris, 29 Mar 2015 @ 2:28am

    obviously the US won't participate, even though its signing various bill regarding privacy. I'll believe the US's committment to privacy when i see it, meanwhile, i'll keep using purevpn to protect my privacy

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 29 Mar 2015 @ 2:44am

    Why would they care? They chalk up a score for the US almost every week for little things like crime against humanity or the occassional warcrimes. If they can easily ignore those i dont think they will care about privacy violations either.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 29 Mar 2015 @ 5:02am

    It's a good start for privacy rights anyway. In theory, the UN is supposed to help take care of these things.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Pragmatic, 30 Mar 2015 @ 7:42am

      Re:

      That's why many on the Right scream "666 - The BEAST!!!111elventyone!" whenever intervention by the UN is mentioned as being a solution to anything.

      They don't want it taken care of.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    ThunkIt, 29 Mar 2015 @ 7:59pm

    US & UK have no objections because...

    they backdoored the rapporteur

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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