State surveillance online: which principles and safeguards?

23 October 2013 - A Workshop on Human Rights in Bali, Indonesia


Ongoing revelations about systematic governments data collection practices and their impact on users' fundamental rights to privacy and freedom of expression have generated a global debate among all stakeholders on principles and guidelines that should govern any such activities.

This flash session will review and discuss efforts that are being made to counter invasive surveillance from human rights, technological and other perspectives. The flash session organisers will briefly introduce the topic, including by introduction of the "" international principles on the application of Human Rights to communications surveillance (supported by over 275 organisations) and invite all session participants to a discussion on the avenues and responses available to advocates and others seeking to address and mitigate the impact of disproportionate surveillance. Principles that could be considered include legality, legitimate aim, necessity, adequacy, proportionality, due process and judicial oversight. They provide a framework in which governments and other stakeholders may assess how current or future laws on surveillance can comply with international human rights standards. Other principles to consider could include transparency, accountability, multistakeholder frameworks or the notion of trust.