UN General Assembly adopts resolution on privacy and surveillance

Posted On January 9, 2014
In Privacy in Cyberspace / Reply

On 18 December 2013, the United Nations General Assembly adopted by consensus Resolution A/RES/68/167 on ‘The right to privacy in the digital age’.

As IP Watch reports, the genesis of the resolution is concern about the pervasive surveillance programs revealed by Edward Snowden. While the resolution in question does not directly condemn any particular practice, it can be understood to be criticising some of the practices that have been discussed in the press, in particular pervasive extraterritorial surveillance.

While resolutions do not have the same legal effects as treaties, they can nevertheless be considered a form of  “soft law”, because they outline agreed positions on specific issues. Significantly, the resolution calls on the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to submit a report on the protection and promotion of the right to privacy in the context of domestic and extraterritorial surveillance and/or interception of digital communications and the collection of personal data, including on a mass scale.

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