Privacy and surveillance

Privacy and surveillance

Freedom of expression and privacy can be seen as two sides of the same coin. On the one hand, they are mutually reinforcing rights: both are essential foundations for open and democratic societies and individual self-fulfillment. Both act as powerful bulwarks against state and corporate power in the modern age. Privacy is also an essential pre-requisite to the meaningful exercise of freedom of expression, as people are much more likely to express themselves freely in the knowledge that their communications are private and secure. For this reason, governments’ mass surveillance powers are not only a gross invasion of privacy but also have a significant chilling effect on freedom of expression.

On the other hand, freedom of expression and privacy can be in conflict. One person’s expression may impinge on someone else’s privacy and vice versa. This tension is exacerbated by digital technologies, as personal information can be collected and made available across borders on an unprecedented scale and at minimal cost for both companies and states in the digital era. At the same time, the application of data protection laws and other measures to protect the right to privacy can have a disproportionate impact on the legitimate exercise of freedom of expression.

Thailand: Proposed initiatives to combat ‘fake news’ undermine freedom of expression
11.06.2021 9 min read

Thailand: Proposed initiatives to combat ‘fake news’ undermine freedom of expression

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Middle East and North Africa: New coalition to combat digital surveillance
08.06.2021 2 min read

Middle East and North Africa: New coalition to combat digital surveillance

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RightsCon: Supporting the future of freedom online
07.06.2021 9 min read

RightsCon: Supporting the future of freedom online

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Unseen eyes, unheard stories: Experiences of surveillance in Kenya and Uganda
04.06.2021 1 min read

Unseen eyes, unheard stories: Experiences of surveillance in Kenya and Uganda

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Indonesia: Repeal Ministerial Regulation 5 to protect digital rights
31.05.2021 2 min read

Indonesia: Repeal Ministerial Regulation 5 to protect digital rights

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International: Facebook Oversight Board decision on Trump ban will not fix the problem
05.05.2021 3 min read

International: Facebook Oversight Board decision on Trump ban will not fix the problem

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International: ARTICLE 19’s Annual Report 2020: meeting threats with resilience
04.05.2021 3 min read

International: ARTICLE 19’s Annual Report 2020: meeting threats with resilience

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EU: New proposal on artificial intelligence must protect human rights
22.04.2021 6 min read

EU: New proposal on artificial intelligence must protect human rights

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Biometric technologies: Freedom of expression must be protected
21.04.2021 3 min read

Biometric technologies: Freedom of expression must be protected

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