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Germany, Brazil introduce UN resolution on cyber privacy

November 08, 2013, 14:11 UTC+3
The draft resolution was developed by Germany and Brazil in the light of the NSA scandal
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Archive AP/Kin Cheung

Archive AP/Kin Cheung

UNITED NATIONS, November 8 (Itar-Tass) - Brazil and Germany on Thursday presented to the United Nations a draft resolution of the UN General Assembly urging an end to global electronic espionage. The draft resolution also calls for extending to the Internet the right to privacy that is enshrined in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

“The General Assembly ... affirms that the same rights that people have offline must also be protected online, in particular the right to privacy,” says the draft resolution.

Brazil’s Ambassador to the UN Antonio de Aguiar Patriota and German Ambassador to the UN Peter Wittig introduced the resolution at the Third Committee of the UN General Assembly. After the presentation, 10 nations: Austria, Bolivia, Indonesia, North Korea Lichtenstein, Peru, Uruguay, France, Switzerland and Ecuador agreed to co-sponsor the resolution.

“By this document we confirm the right to privacy and call on all nations to protect this right. We also call on them to put an end to rights violation and create conditions for preventing such acts, as well as put an end to the practice and legislation related to spying, extraterritorial surveillance of communications, their interception, as well as the collection of personal data, in particular massive surveillance, interception and data collection,” said the Brazilian diplomat.

Peter Wittig for his part urged the nations to contribute to the development of the document and thus demonstrate readiness to consider “one of the acute problems in international humanitarian law.”

The draft resolution was developed by Germany and Brazil in the light of the major international scandal caused by revelations of the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden who leaked two top secret U.S. government spying programmes under which the NSA and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) are eavesdropping on millions of American and European phone records and the Internet data from major Internet companies such as Facebook, Yahoo, Google, Apple, and Microsoft.

After the presentation of the draft resolution the negotiations process began in which other countries may insist on introducing some changes to the document. The document is expected to be put to the vote in the GA Third Committee no later than November 27. If the resolution is passed, its consideration at a plenary session of the UN General Assembly will be a formality.

The latest version of the document, Itar-Tass has learned, states that illegal surveillance “violates the right to privacy and freedom of expression, as well as undermines the foundations of a democratic society.” The draft resolution also urges UN human rights chief Navi Pillay to produce a report within a year “on the protection of the right to privacy in the context of domestic and extraterritorial, including massive, surveillance of communications, their interception and collection of personal data.”

The German ambassador to the UN expressed confidence that this report would serve as a solid basis for a serious in-depth public discussion of the problem that has already begun. According to him, it is time to transfer the discussion “to the most responsible international forum - the United Nations.”

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