Sunday, August 30, 2015
UN Emerging as Strong Critic of US on Privacy, Surveillance
The United Nations is emerging as a new player and holder of the bully pulpit on the global privacy scene, following the November 2013 unanimous vote of the General Assembly to approve the Brazilian-German declaration entitled The Right to Privacy in the Digital Age and the March 28, 2015 unanimous decision of the UN Human Rights Council to establish a special rapporteur on the right to privacy. On July 28, a new UN Human Rights Committee issued its mid-term report card for several countries based on how well they have adhered to and implemented its recommendations related to the International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights. The U.S. performance in several aspects of protecting privacy was graded “not satisfactory," including its current system of oversight for surveillance activities and its obligation under the Covenant to ensure that any interference with privacy is authorized by law. At the end of August, the newly-appointed Special Rapporteur, Joseph Cannataci, a Maltese human rights and data privacy scholar, blasted the current state of surveillance of Internet users as "Orwellian" and called for a new Geneva convention for the Internet.