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.

Open letter: European Commission must ban biometric mass surveillance
01.04.2021 10 min read

Open letter: European Commission must ban biometric mass surveillance

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China blocks Signal: Why we should protect encryption everywhere
27.03.2021 6 min read

China blocks Signal: Why we should protect encryption everywhere

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Thailand: Declining digital rights must be addressed in third UPR
25.03.2021 2 min read

Thailand: Declining digital rights must be addressed in third UPR

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France: Freedom of expression in decline
12.03.2021 19 min read

France: Freedom of expression in decline

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Submission to UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of expression and ‘disinformation’
12.02.2021 8 min read

Submission to UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of expression and ‘disinformation’

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UN: To protect privacy in the digital age, world governments can and must do more
25.01.2021 13 min read

UN: To protect privacy in the digital age, world governments can and must do more

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Emotion Recognition Technology: A Threat to Free Speech, Equality and Privacy
25.01.2021 3 min read

Emotion Recognition Technology: A Threat to Free Speech, Equality and Privacy

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Kenya: Measures to tackle Covid-19 pandemic must not violate human rights
19.01.2021 15 min read

Kenya: Measures to tackle Covid-19 pandemic must not violate human rights

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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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