Privacy International defends the right to privacy across the world, and fights surveillance and other intrusions into private life by governments and corporations. Read more »




Press release

Privacy International welcomes the resolution introduced on Friday by Germany and Brazil to the UN General Assembly, affirming the international human right to privacy and its essential nature to the realization of other rights, and condemning mass State surveillance of individuals around the world.

Should the resolution be adopted, it will be the first major statement by a UN body on privacy in 25 years, since General Comment 16 in 1988 by the Human Rights Committee. It is also the first major intergovernmental effort to address the right to privacy and government surveillance since whistleblower Edward Snowden exposed the scope of global surveillance activities being carried out by some of the world’s most powerful governments.

Carly Nyst, Head of International Advocacy at Privacy International, said:

Alexandrine Pirlot's picture

As anticipated, the Snowden revelations – first referred to in the opening session as the “elephant in the room” – soon became the central focus of many of the 150 workshops that took place during the 8th Internet Governance Forum (IGF) in Bali, and dominated the bilateral meetings that took place between governments, the private sector, the tech community, and civil society.

The various stakeholders arrived at the IGF ready to pursue their own agendas. The U.S. came to try and restore its image as a concerned protector of human rights of Internet users; China, to seize the opportunity to portray itself as a support of citizen’s rights in face of mass foreign surveillance programmes of Western democracies; and Brazil used the IGF to reaffirm its leadership for a multi-stakeholder approach which would respect human rights and challenge unethical illegal mass surveillance.

Caroline Wilson Palow's picture

The calculated detention, interrogation, and search of David Miranda brings into sharp relief the draconian legal frameworks that define security and policing in the United Kingdom. These events highlight not only the imperilled state of privacy rights and free expression in Britain, but the breakdown of the democratic institutions that should be protecting individuals not only from terrorists, but from unrestrained government power.

Miranda, the partner of Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald, was detained at Heathrow Airport on Sunday. He was subjected to almost nine hours of questioning for being associated with a writer and newspaper that has blown the lid off of the overreaching activities of Western intelligence agencies. Miranda also had several of his electronic devices seized, including his laptop, USB thumbdrives, mobile phone, camera, and gaming consoles.

In the media
Globo News
Publication date: 
Original story link: 

Privacy International's Head of International Advocacy Carly Nyst sits down with GloboNews in Brazil to talk about government surveillance and data protection laws around the world.

Eric King's picture

Privacy International has compiled data on the privacy provisions in national constitutions around the world, including which countries have constitutional protections, whether they come from international agreements, what aspects of privacy are actually protected and when those protections were enacted. We are pleased to make this information available under a Creative Commons license for organizations, researchers, students and the community at large to use to support their work (and hopefully contribute to a greater understanding of privacy rights).

The categories

Though the right to privacy exists in several international instruments, the most effective privacy protections come in the form of constitutional articles. Varying aspects of the right to privacy are protected in different ways by different countries. Broad categories include:

Dr Gus Hosein's picture

In 1994, in an attempt to discover the problems caused by ID cards, Privacy International compiled a survey containing reports from correspondents in forty countries. Amongst the gravest of problems reported to Privacy International was the over zealous use or misuse of ID cards by police - even where the cards were supposed to be voluntary. One respondent wrote:

On one occasion I was stopped in Switzerland when walking at night near Lake Geneva. I was living in Switzerland at the time and had a Swiss foreigner's ID card. The police were wondering why I should want to walk at night to look at the Chateau de Chillon. Really suspicious I suppose, to walk at night on the banks of the lake to look at an illuminated chateau (I am white and dress conservatively). I had to wait for 20 minutes whilst they radioed my ID number to their central computer to check on its validity."

Correspondents in most countries reported that police had powers to demand the ID card. A correspondent in Greece reported:

Subscribe to Brazil