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Foreign Policy: Brazil, Germany jointly initiate discussion of UN resolution against US spying

October 25, 2013, 7:25 UTC+3

The resolution is planned to be put to the vote at the UN Committee on Human Rights before the year end

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WASHINGTON, October 25 (Itar-Tass) - Brazil and Germany convened in New York on Thursday a meeting with representatives of a number of Latin American and European governments to discuss a draft UN resolution that calls for expanding privacy rights contained in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights to the Internet, the U.S. Foreign Policy magazine reported with reference to its own sources.

According to the publication, it is “the first major international effort to restrain the National Security Agency’s (NSA) intrusions into the online communications of foreigners, according to diplomatic sources familiar with the push.” The resolution is planned to be put to the vote at the UN Committee on Human Rights before the year end.

“The draft does not refer to a flurry of American spying revelations that have caused a political uproar around the world, particularly in Brazil and Germany. But it was clear that the revelation provided the political momentum to trigger today’s move to the United Nations. The blowback from the NSA leaks continues to agonise U.S. diplomats and military officials concerned about America's image abroad,” writes Foreign Policy.

"This is an example of the very worst aspects of the Snowden disclosures,” said a former U.S. defence official with deep experience in NATO, referring to former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. “It will be very difficult for the U.S. to dig out of this, although we will over time. The short term costs in credibility and trust are enormous,” he added.

“The worst case scenario I think would be having our European allies saying they will no longer share signals intelligence because of a concern that our SigInt is being derived from mechanisms that violate their privacy rules,” said Ray Kimball, an army strategist with policy experience on European issues. He stressed that he was not speaking for the military.

The authors of the publication emphasise that the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights has a provision in the Article 17, saying that “no one shall be subjected to arbitrary or unlawful interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to unlawful attacks on his honour and reputation.” It also states that “everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.”

“The covenant was formulated at a time when the Internet didn’t exist,” said a diplomat familiar with the negotiations. “Everyone has the right to privacy and the goal is to this resolution is to apply those protections to online communications.” The countries initiators of the new resolution believe that at present this prohibition is relevant more than ever.

Foreign Policy believes that the initiative could find a positive response not only in Brazil, Mexico, France, Italy and Germany that have already been affected by the U.S. wiretapping scandal, but also in other countries.

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