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Issue

Communications Surveillance

Interception and monitoring of individuals' communications is becoming more widespread, more indiscriminate and more invasive, just as our reliance on electronic communications increases.

Nearly all major international agreements on human rights protect the right of individuals to be free from unwarranted surveillance. This guarantee has trickled down into national constitutional or legal provisions protecting the privacy of communications.

In most democratic countries, intercepts of oral, telephone and digital communications are initiated by law enforcement or intelligence agencies only after approval by a judge, and only during the investigation of serious crimes.
Yet government agencies continue to lobby for increased surveillance capabilities, particularly as technologies change. Communications surveillance has expanded to Internet and digital communications. In many countries, law enforcement agencies have required internet providers and telecommunications companies to monitor users’ traffic. Many of these activities are carried out under dubious legal basis and remain unknown to the public.

We have conducted investigations to uncover communications surveillance schemes and the technologies that enable communications surveillance. We also work with technology providers to promote the use of secure communications technologies, and have worked with human rights groups to train them in securing their communications. We continue to monitor the use of communications surveillance, advocate for transparency and independent authorization and oversight, and promote other safeguards against abuse.

Communications Surveillance

In the media
Publisher: 
MediaPart
Publication date: 
04-Apr-2014
Original story link: 

Un groupe d’ONG, parmi lesquelles Amnesty International, la FIDH, Human Rights Watch, Reporters sans frontières, Privacy International, Digitale Gesellschaft ou encore l’Open Technologie Institute, a lancé vendredi 4 avril une Coalition contre l’exportation des technologies de surveillance (CAUSE).

In the media
Publisher: 
NetzPolitik
Publication date: 
25-Mar-2014
Author(s): 
Killian Froitzhuber
Original story link: 

Tim Maurer, Edin Omanovic und Ben Wagner haben für den Digitale Gesellschaft e. V., Privacy International, das Open Technology Institute und die New America Foundation eine Studie zur Problematik (englisch) verfasst, die sich mit den existierenden Regularien ebenso auseinandersetzt wie mit dem technologischen Wettrüsten auf diesem Gebiet und den Wechselwirkungen dieser Bereiche. Im Fokus stehen die Exportkontrollen in den USA, in Großbritannien, Deutschland und der EU sowie das multilaterale Wassenaar-Abkommen.

In the media
Publisher: 
Voice of America
Publication date: 
04-Apr-2014
Author(s): 
Cecily Hilleary
Original story link: 

CAUSE, comprising Amnesty International, Digitale Gesellschaft, FIDH, Human Rights Watch, the New America Foundation’s Open Technology Institute, Privacy International and Reporters without Borders – cites a $5 billion international trade in communication surveillance technologies and wants to hold both governments and private companies accountable for governments abuse of spying software and related tools and equipment.

In the media
Publisher: 
Netzpolitik
Publication date: 
04-Apr-2014
Author(s): 
Anna Biselli
Original story link: 

Heute hat sich in Brüssel das Bündnis CAUSE (Coalition Against Unlawful Surveillance Exports) zusammengefunden, um gegen den Export von Überwachungstechnologien an undemokratische und repressive Regimes zu kämpfen. CAUSE besteht aus mehreren international vertretenen NGOs wie Amnesty International, FIDH, Human Rights Watch, dem Open Technology Institute, Privacy International, Reporter ohne Grenzen und der Digitalen Gesellschaft.

In the media
Publisher: 
Wired UK
Publication date: 
04-Apr-2014
Author(s): 
Liat Clark
Original story link: 

The Coalition Against Unlawful Surveillance Exports (Cause) launched today in Brussels, and is made up of Amnesty International, Digitale Gesellschaft, FIDH, Human Rights Watch, the New America Foundation's Open Technology Institute, Privacy International and Reporters without Borders.

"The unchecked development, sale and export of these technologies is not justifiable," adds Kenneth Page at Privacy International. "Governments must swiftly take action to prevent these technologies spreading into dangerous hands."

Report
26-Nov-2013

Our special report shining a light on the secretive Five Eyes alliance, where we lay out how the laws around which the Five Eyes are constructed violate human rights law, and argue the Five Eyes States owe a general duty not to interfere with communications that pass through their territorial borders.

Event
Wednesday, April 9, 2014 - 18:30
Location: 
Committee Room 6, House of Commons. Enter through the St Stephen's Entrance to the Houses of Parliament

The Snowden revelations have reverberated throughout the world, sparking an international debate on state power and what privacy and freedom of expression means in the digital age.

The impact of the Snowden disclosures is global. While we view the debate from our domestic perspective, the impact has been significant for those who defend human rights and fight surveillance in emerging democracies.

Contact person: 

RSVP to:

Mike Rispoli
Mike@privacyinternational.org
+44 (0) 20 3422 4321

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Blog
Carly Nyst's picture

In response to a consultation being undertaken by the UN in accordance with December’s General Assembly resolution on the right to privacy in the digital age, Privacy International today called on the United Nations to recognise that mass surveillance is incompatible with human rights.

The submission to the Office of the High Commissioner to Human Rights confronts some of the biggest challenges to the right to privacy in the digital age, debunks some of the justifications put forth by the Five Eyes governments in response to the Snowden revelations, and argues that States owe human rights obligations to all individuals subject to their jurisdiction.

In the media
Publisher: 
Le Monde
Publication date: 
28-Mar-2014
Author(s): 
Louise Couvelaire
Original story link: 

"Aujourd'hui, il peut enregistrer les conversations téléphoniques, avoir accès aux textos... Ce qui n'était pas le cas il y a encore un an", fulmine Matthew Rice, de l'organisation à but non lucratif Privacy International, basée à Londres.

Countries: 
In the media
Publisher: 
RTE
Publication date: 
27-Mar-2014
Author(s): 
Morning Ireland
Original story link: 

Dr Richard Tynan, of lobby group Privacy International, discusses a garda tender outlining requirements to collect phone calls at 21 stations.

Countries: 

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