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.

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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Myanmar: UN must ensure accountability for free expression violations
07.07.2021 2 min read

Myanmar: UN must ensure accountability for free expression violations

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Italy: Access to information law should not override protection of journalistic sources
01.07.2021 10 min read

Italy: Access to information law should not override protection of journalistic sources

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Iran: Raisi’s presidency will embed the human rights crisis in Iran
22.06.2021 6 min read

Iran: Raisi’s presidency will embed the human rights crisis in Iran

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Joint Letter: Proposed Thailand law threatens civil society organisations combatting human trafficking
17.06.2021 1 min read

Joint Letter: Proposed Thailand law threatens civil society organisations combatting human trafficking

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