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.

UN: Open letter warning against human rights risks of Cybercrime Convention
14.02.2024 9 min read

UN: Open letter warning against human rights risks of Cybercrime Convention

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UN: Cybercrime Convention still poses human rights concerns
23.01.2024 8 min read

UN: Cybercrime Convention still poses human rights concerns

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Mexico: Investigations into the use of Pegasus spyware must continue
15.01.2024 4 min read

Mexico: Investigations into the use of Pegasus spyware must continue

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EU: Open letter on security-cloaked threats to encryption
11.01.2024 7 min read

EU: Open letter on security-cloaked threats to encryption

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India: Government must withdraw the Telecommunications Bill, 2023
21.12.2023 8 min read

India: Government must withdraw the Telecommunications Bill, 2023

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Australia: Joint letter urging commissioner to safeguard encryption
19.12.2023 7 min read

Australia: Joint letter urging commissioner to safeguard encryption

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UN: Draft Cybercrime Convention remains seriously flawed
12.12.2023 12 min read

UN: Draft Cybercrime Convention remains seriously flawed

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Vietnam: Internet freedom critical for the right to development
02.11.2023 6 min read

Vietnam: Internet freedom critical for the right to development

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UK: AI safety must start with protecting human rights at home
01.11.2023 4 min read

UK: AI safety must start with protecting human rights at home

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