The UN will address violations and abuses of the right to privacy

In a landmark resolution adopted at its 28th session (March 2015), the United Nations Human Rights Council created a mandate of Special Rapporteur on the right to privacy, which will address the many, multi-faceted and transnational challenges at a time when the (mis)use of communications and surveillance technologies threatens to dramatically curtail fundamental freedoms and individuals’ rights to security and privacy.

The new mandate will intervene notably, as documented by FIDH, with regard to:
- The use of mass surveillance, interception of communications, and collection and use of personal data on a mass scale by state agencies, as was done under the US National Security Agency PRISM program and the Colombian Department of Security DAS;
- The use of surveillance techniques and technologies by business enterprises against trade unionists, human rights defenders and journalists, and the related states’ obligations to regulate their use and respond to abuses, notably in Brazil, Peru and Colombia; and
- The export of surveillance technology to states responsible for serious human rights violations, as was done with the export of surveillance technology by French companies to the Gaddafi regime in Libya or the Al-Assad regime in Syria (see FIDH’s report on Surveillance technologies "Made in Europe" : Regulation needed to prevent human rights abuses, and litigation against Amesys and Qosmos).

FIDH advocated for the creation of this mandate, calling on the Human Rights Council to make such a move in order to address, including through monitoring, country visits, individual communications and public reporting, all violations and abuses of the right to privacy, and to make recommendations thereon.

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