UN General Assembly adopts consensus text backing right to Privacy in Digital Age
Deeply concerned that electronic surveillance, interception of digital communications and collection of personal data may negatively impact human rights, the United Nations General Assembly has adopted a consensus resolution strongly backing the right to privacy, calling on all countries take measures to end activities that violate this fundamental “tenet of a democratic society.”
By a text entitled “Right to privacy in the digital age,” the Assembly weighed in on the emerging issue, underscoring that the right to privacy is a human right and affirming, for the first time, that the same rights people have offline must also be protected online. It called on States to “respect and protect the right to privacy, including in the context of digital communication.”
The measure, crafted by Brazil and Germany, was among the more than 65 texts recommended by the Assembly’s Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural) yesterday on a range of issues relating mainly to human rights, social development and crime prevention.
Noting that while concerns about public security may justify the gathering and protection of certain sensitive information, the text states that governments must ensure full compliance with their obligations under international human rights law. It calls on States to establish or maintain existing independent, effective domestic oversight capable of ensuring transparency, as appropriate, and accountability for surveillance and/or interception of communications and the collection of personal data.