Thursday, October 3, 2013

Blog 2 Andree Curran

Blog 2

As our lives become more digitalized, the pervasiveness of electronic surveillance has soared—unchecked. In response, governments around the world have rightfully called for protecting online privacy.

In the pre-Internet age, conventional surveillance techniques were labor intensive and time consuming, which helped to constrain abusive practices. Now, in the age of social media, authorities can track people’s location, associations, and communications, constructing a detailed portrait of their lives.

To protect the peoples’ rights, the Human Rights Watch has endorsed a set of International Principles on the Application of Human Rights to Communications Surveillance, released by a broad group of civil society organizations in Geneva. The International Principles provide guidance to governments and make recommendations to ensure communications surveillance practices are lawful and subject to action against abuse. These principles are essential to ensure that the rights and privacy of the people are protected now that so much personal information can be found on the Internet.

The issue of pervasive electronic surveillance started when concern arose over the excessive amount of monitoring by the US and UK. Clearly, privacy protections have not kept pace with technology, and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay has pushed for change. She urges all countries to ensure that they have protections to defend the right to privacy and other human rights, even while the national security justify an unwarranted use of surveillance.

According to the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, technology companies should demonstrate they are safeguarding their users and they should work on being more transparent. Otherwise, national privacy regimes will not report their updates and we will head toward a world where privacy disappears as soon as we go online.


-Andree Curran 

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