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.

EU: Civil society challenges EU plans to expand biometric mass surveillance
15.12.2020 6 min read

EU: Civil society challenges EU plans to expand biometric mass surveillance

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Europe : ECtHR must not allow unrestricted access and collection of communications data
02.11.2020 3 min read

Europe : ECtHR must not allow unrestricted access and collection of communications data

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Eastern Africa: Elections, pandemic surveillance and regional commitments
02.10.2020 9 min read

Eastern Africa: Elections, pandemic surveillance and regional commitments

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South Africa: Open letter calling on MTN to improve transparency and human rights
22.09.2020 1 min read

South Africa: Open letter calling on MTN to improve transparency and human rights

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Joint statement: 5 demands for an ambitious European Democracy Action Plan
18.09.2020 8 min read

Joint statement: 5 demands for an ambitious European Democracy Action Plan

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Pakistan: Online Harms Rules use flawed definitions from UK’s Prevent programme
14.08.2020 2 min read

Pakistan: Online Harms Rules use flawed definitions from UK’s Prevent programme

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Belarus: Protests against controversial elections should not be met with police violence
10.08.2020 3 min read

Belarus: Protests against controversial elections should not be met with police violence

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Turkey: New Internet law threatens freedom of expression online
28.07.2020 4 min read

Turkey: New Internet law threatens freedom of expression online

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EU: ARTICLE 19 calls for US surveillance laws to be reformed after data protection ruling
16.07.2020 2 min read

EU: ARTICLE 19 calls for US surveillance laws to be reformed after data protection ruling

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