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Mass surveillance 'endangers fundamental human rights,' says study

Loek Essers | Jan. 28, 2015
Mass Internet surveillance endangers fundamental human rights and has not helped to prevent terrorist attacks, a top European human rights body concluded after analyzing documents leaked by Edward Snowden in 2013.

To ensure these laws will be followed, better judicial and parliamentary control of intelligence services is needed, the report said. It also urged countries to provide credible, effective protection for whistleblowers exposing unlawful surveillance.

The parliamentary assembly of the Council of Europe elects the judges of the European Court of Human Rights, which is currently dealing with several cases based on Snowden revelations which allege that mass surveillance by British intelligence services have violated human rights.

The legal affairs committee urged countries to agree on an "intelligence codex" defining mutual obligations that secret services could opt into; ban the use of surveillance for political, economic or diplomatic purposes; promote user-friendly, automatic data protection techniques capable of countering mass surveillance, and refrain from exporting advanced surveillance technology to authoritarian regimes.

The report is due to be debated by the full plenary assembly in April. If adopted, recommendations will be made to the Committee of Ministers, the Council of Europe's decision making body composed of the Ministers for Foreign Affairs of the 47 states, to take the necessary measures to uphold the fundamental right to privacy on the Internet.

 

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