GLOBAL INTERNET LIBERTY CAMPAIGN
PRIVACY AND HUMAN RIGHTS
An International Survey of Privacy Laws and Practice
This report provides details of the
state of privacy in fifty countries around the world. It outlines the
constitutional and legal conditions of privacy protection, and
summarizes important issues and events relating to privacy and
surveillance. Among its key findings:
- Privacy is a fundamental human
right recognized in all major international treaties and
agreements on human rights. Nearly every country in the world
recognizes privacy as a fundamental human right in their
constitution, either explicitly or implicitly. Most recently
drafted constitutions include specific rights to access and
control one's personal information.
- New technologies are increasingly
eroding privacy rights. These include video surveillance cameras,
identity cards and genetic databases.
- There is a growing trend towards
the enactment of comprehensive privacy and data protection acts
around the world. Currently over 40 countries and jurisdictions
have or are in the process of enacting such laws. Countries are
adopting these laws in many cases to address past governmental
abuses (such as in former East Bloc countries), to promote
electronic commerce, or to ensure compatibility with international
standards developed by the European Union, the Council of Europe,
and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
- Surveillance authority is
regularly abused, even in many of the most democratic countries.
The main targets are political opposition, journalists, and human
rights activists. The U.S. government is leading efforts to
further relax legal and technical barriers to electronic
surveillance. The Internet is coming under increased