Wednesday, April 1, 2015By José Gonzalez Last week the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) announced it would appoint an expert on privacy in the digital space, providing much needed support to the protection of privacy on the internet and other digital platforms. The Special Rapporteur on Privacy in the Digital Age will address numerous privacy concerns, and will help to emphasize how a lack of privacy can create a chilling effect on free expression. The new Rapporteur will reaffirm and promote the rights to privacy and freedom of opinion and expression. He or she will also reaffirm protection of the law against arbitrary or unlawful interference, noting how technological advancements have thrown such expectations into jeopardy. In the context of increasing government surveillance, this Special Rapporteur has been given the mandate to ensure that legitimate investigations into suspected terrorists don’t cross boundaries that might invade the privacy of law-abiding individuals. The United Nations considers the right to privacy to include both the offline and online worlds, and that this right must be protected. This new Rapporteur will work to collect information on both international and national frameworks, and will identify and make recommendations on infractions and obstacles to the protection of privacy as a human right. The first annual report on digital privacy will be submitted to the Human Rights Council at its 31st session and to the General Assembly at its 71st session.
José Gonzalez is a freelance journalist currently working in Toronto, Ontario. Follow José on Twitter @JGonspy.
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