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.

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Covid-19: Limit duration of UK coronavirus bill

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Covid-19 must not be used as an excuse to entrench surveillance
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Covid-19 must not be used as an excuse to entrench surveillance

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Covid-19: Emergency powers must be kept in check
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UK: ARTICLE 19 briefing warns of threats to freedom of expression 
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UK: ARTICLE 19 briefing warns of threats to freedom of expression 

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Spain: The Royal Decree-Law 14/2019 threatens freedom of expression

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Spain: The Digital Royal Decree may give Government powers to censor and takedown online content

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European Court ruling is blow for ability to communicate anonymously
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European Court ruling is blow for ability to communicate anonymously

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ARTICLE 19 supports calls for independent investigation into the hacking of Jeff Bezos’ phone
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ARTICLE 19 supports calls for independent investigation into the hacking of Jeff Bezos’ phone

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Assange: Concerns over use of embassy surveillance in extradition proceedings
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Assange: Concerns over use of embassy surveillance in extradition proceedings

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