Right To Privacy In The Digital Age

I do not want to be subjected to arbitrary interference with my privacy, family, home or correspondence by officials of any country where I live. For I do believe that everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks. It has always been comforting for me to know that my right to privacy is respected and guaranteed by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on the Civil and Political Rights. But I am also aware of the danger to my personal security living in today’s digitised World and working in social media. My privacy and personal safety could be easily compromised in just an instant because of what I write or say online in an e-mail, Facebook or Twitter accounts. And, unknowingly one day, I could get a surprise visit by any suspicious state official who then get my computer confiscated as a result of a random surveillance activity by state authority. It is easy for our human rights to be violated through electronic surveillance, governmental interception of digital communications and collection of personal data such as medical records, banking activities or financial transactions. Today, we have good news on this from that United Nations that the General Assembly just adopted, by consensus, a resolution on the right to privacy in the digital age. The representative of member states have adopted new measures to end activities that violate people’s human rights to privacy, offline and online digital communication. They agreed to comply with the obligations under the international human rights law, and to find ways to establish or maintain existing independent, transparent, and effective domestic oversight that includes accountability in the surveillance and interception of communications and the collection of personal data. Navi Pillay, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights was asked to prepare and submit an official report on the protection and promotion of the right to privacy in digital age to the Human Rights Council next year at it’s 27th session in Geneva, and later to the 69th Session of the General Assembly in New York. I want to express my appreciation of the efforts of Ms. Pillay and the good work of her office at international level to defend human rights to privacy. But successful implementation of this important resolution depends on action by UN Member States. They should listen to her warning, which I totally agree with, that surveillance without adequate safeguards to protect the right to privacy actually risk impacting negatively on the enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms. People need to be confident that their private communications are not being unduly scrutinised by the State.

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