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: Establish red lines on new and emerging technologies
19.09.2022 2 min read

UN: Establish red lines on new and emerging technologies

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UN: Safety of journalists high on Human Rights Council’s agenda
13.09.2022 11 min read

UN: Safety of journalists high on Human Rights Council’s agenda

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South Korea: Court rules data sharing without notifying subjects unconstitutional
01.09.2022 7 min read

South Korea: Court rules data sharing without notifying subjects unconstitutional

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Boundaries of Expression Pegasus podcast: The spy in your pocket
12.07.2022 3 min read

Boundaries of Expression Pegasus podcast: The spy in your pocket

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UN: States must protect protests in crisis situations
17.06.2022 2 min read

UN: States must protect protests in crisis situations

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Jo Glanville: Spyware threatens everyone’s right to free expression 
14.06.2022 13 min read

Jo Glanville: Spyware threatens everyone’s right to free expression 

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Russia: Blocking of Telegram app sets dangerous precedent
10.06.2022 5 min read

Russia: Blocking of Telegram app sets dangerous precedent

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Russia: Administrative requirements for protests must not be misused
10.06.2022 4 min read

Russia: Administrative requirements for protests must not be misused

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Russia: Expansive use of facial recognition threatens anonymity
10.06.2022 7 min read

Russia: Expansive use of facial recognition threatens anonymity

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