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CIS and International Coalition Calls upon Governments to Protect Privacy

Posted by Elonnai Hickok at Sep 25, 2013 07:20 AM |
The Centre for Internet and Society (CIS) along with the International Coalition has called upon governments across the globe to protect privacy.

On September 20 in Geneva, CIS joined a huge international coalition in calling upon countries across the globe, including India to assess whether national surveillance laws and activities are in line with their international human rights obligations.

The Centre for Internet and Society has endorsed a set of international principles against unchecked surveillance. The 13 Principles set out for the first time an evaluative framework for assessing surveillance practices in the context of international human rights obligations.

A group of civil society organizations officially presented the 13 Principles this past Friday in Geneva at a side event attended by Navi Pillay, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression and Opinion, Frank LaRue, during the 24th session of the Human Rights Council. The side event was hosted by the Permanent Missions of Austria, Germany, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland and Hungary.

Elonnai Hickok, Programme Manager at the Centre for Internet and Society has noted that "the 13 Principles are an important first step towards informing governments, corporates, and individuals across jurisdictions, including India, about needed safeguards for surveillance practices and related policies to ensure that they are necessary and proportionate."

Navi Pillay, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, speaking at the Human Rights Council stated in her opening statement on September 9:

"Laws and policies must be adopted to address the potential for dramatic intrusion on individuals’ privacy which have been made possible by modern communications technology."

Navi Pillay, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, speaking at the event, said that:

"technological advancements have been powerful tools for democracy by giving access to all to participate in society, but increasing use of data mining by intelligence agencies blurs lines between legitimate surveillance and arbitrary mass surveillance."

Frank La Rue, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression and Opinion made clear the case for a direct relationship between state surveillance, privacy and freedom of expression in this latest report to the Human Rights Council:

"The right to privacy is often understood as an essential requirement for the realization of the right to freedom of expression. Undue interference with individuals’ privacy can both directly and indirectly limit the free development and exchange of ideas. … An infringement upon one right can be both the cause and consequence of an infringement upon the other."

Speaking at the event, the UN Special Rapporteur remarked that:

"previously surveillance was carried out on targeted basis but the Internet has changed the context by providing the possibility for carrying out mass surveillance. This is the danger."

Representatives of the Centre for Internet and Society, Privacy International, the Electronic Frontier Foundation,Access,Human Rights Watch,Reporters Without Borders, Association for Progressive Communications, and theCenter for Democracy and Technology all are taking part in the event.

Find out more about the Principles at


NGOs currently in Geneva for the 24th Human Rights Council:

Fabiola Carrion: [email protected]

Association for Progressive Communication
Shawna Finnegan: [email protected]

Center for Democracy and Technology
Matthew Shears: [email protected]

Electronic Frontier Foundation
Katitza Rodriguez:  [email protected] - @txitua

Human Rights Watch
Cynthia Wong: [email protected]

Privacy International
Carly Nyst: [email protected]

Reporters Without Borders
Lucie Morillon: [email protected]
Hélène Sackstein: [email protected]


Ramiro Alvarez: [email protected]
Asociación por los Derechos Civiles

Beatriz Busaniche: [email protected]
Fundación Via Libre

Carolina Botero: [email protected]
Fundación Karisma

Ahmed Ezzat: [email protected]

Hedme Sierra-Castro: [email protected]

Elonnai Hickok: [email protected]
Center for Internet and Society

Prof. Park:  [email protected]
Open Net Korea

Bardhyl Jashari: [email protected]
Metamorphosis Foundation for Internet and Society

Mauritania, Senegal, Tanzania
Abadacar Diop: [email protected]

Andreia Martins: [email protected]

Miguel Morachimo: [email protected]

Andrei Soldatov: [email protected]

Djordje Krivokapic: [email protected]
SHARE Foundation

Western Balkans
Valentina Pellizer: [email protected]

Marcelo Saldanha: [email protected]