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.

Blog: New data protection law will not reign in China’s techno-authoritarianism
25.08.2021 5 min read

Blog: New data protection law will not reign in China’s techno-authoritarianism

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Afghanistan: Civil society calls on international actors in Afghanistan to secure digital identity and biometric data immediately
25.08.2021 10 min read

Afghanistan: Civil society calls on international actors in Afghanistan to secure digital identity and biometric data immediately

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Thailand: Immediately repeal emergency regulation that threatens online freedoms
03.08.2021 12 min read

Thailand: Immediately repeal emergency regulation that threatens online freedoms

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Joint open letter: States need to implement moratorium on sale, use and transfer of surveillance technology
27.07.2021 1 min read

Joint open letter: States need to implement moratorium on sale, use and transfer of surveillance technology

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The Pegasus Project: MENA Surveillance Coalition demands an end to the sale of surveillance technology to the region’s autocratic governments
26.07.2021 10 min read

The Pegasus Project: MENA Surveillance Coalition demands an end to the sale of surveillance technology to the region’s autocratic governments

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Rwanda: Surveillance revelations opportunity to reform legal and encryption environment
26.07.2021 11 min read

Rwanda: Surveillance revelations opportunity to reform legal and encryption environment

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Mexico: Pegasus revelations prompt fresh calls for truth 
20.07.2021 8 min read

Mexico: Pegasus revelations prompt fresh calls for truth 

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Iran: Foiled plot to kidnap activist a sign of increasingly brazen transnational repression
14.07.2021 3 min read

Iran: Foiled plot to kidnap activist a sign of increasingly brazen transnational repression

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Blog: Apple says it cares about digital rights. Unless you’re in China.
13.07.2021 12 min read

Blog: Apple says it cares about digital rights. Unless you’re in China.

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