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?

Filed Under: david miranda, ed snowden, mass surveillance, privacy, snowden treaty, surveillance


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  • icon
    Ninja (profile), 24 Sep 2015 @ 11:56am

    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.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Sep 2015 @ 12:21pm

    It's not gonna happen. :(

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 24 Sep 2015 @ 2:22pm

      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.

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

  • icon
    Blaine (profile), 24 Sep 2015 @ 12:40pm

    Lets get it started

    Someone more eloquent than me should get it up on that web site the potus ignores. https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/

    At the very least it will sit there and be an irritant.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Sep 2015 @ 1:02pm

    ...chances of the US signing on to this are basically nil...

    Congress has to ratify any treaty for it to have legal force in the US. Hopefully this treaty waits until after the '16 elections where - hopefully - there will be a number of more supportive people.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 24 Sep 2015 @ 1:31pm

      Re:

      Congress is also supposed to be the ones to declare war on other countries and look how that currently gets ignored.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 24 Sep 2015 @ 1:51pm

        Re: Re:

        It's not war! It's simply military intervention to overthrow an evil dictator, and then to fix all the chaos that overthrowing the evil dictator caused!

        However, we didn't want to confuse the voters, hence we decided to call it the Iraq War!

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

        • icon
          Coyne Tibbets (profile), 26 Sep 2015 @ 10:24am

          Re: Re: Re:

          And yet I don't get to declare my massive consumer fraud a "simple training intervention to improve the intelligence of dumb consumers." Imagine that.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Sep 2015 @ 1:04pm

    China, Russia, US, and England, will be hold outs for sure. Most like the 14 eyes will all decide not to be signatories because the US will be twisting arms over it.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 24 Sep 2015 @ 2:01pm

      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?

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Sep 2015 @ 1:30pm

    You are more likely to get assassinated for your trouble than see anything come of this. Would be dictators and petty tyrants do not like challenges to their perceived power and ownership over their citizens

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Sep 2015 @ 3:09pm

    I'm sad to say, but all that talk about privacy and no HTTPS? I meen, really?!?

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Sep 2015 @ 4:08pm

    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!!

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Sep 2015 @ 5:23am

    Because treaties to ban nukes or incendiary weapons were so effective. The two largest warmongers refused to sign them and we can see where that leads. But ofcourse a kid on a beach is a bigger thing than a dozen kids burned to death...

    Who cares who signs it if the US is the largest user.

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

  • identicon
    Just Another Anonymous Troll, 25 Sep 2015 @ 5:27am

    He missed a line:
    "and give Snowden a goddamn medal"

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

  • identicon
    Klaus, 25 Sep 2015 @ 6:20am

    At least someone's trying...

    Doffs cap towards to David Miranda.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 25 Sep 2015 @ 8:10am

      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.

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

  • identicon
    GEMont, 26 Sep 2015 @ 7:35pm

    Well, just ignoring it all won't make it go away..

    Well lets hope the "get people talking about it" angle works, because telling governments to not spy on their population is the same as telling billionaires to stop making their money make money.

    -----

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


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