Sunday, August 9, 2020
Home Lead Story UN: Rise of Private Surveillance Industry Undermining Freedom of Expression

UN: Rise of Private Surveillance Industry Undermining Freedom of Expression

Governments may have a valid and critical need to use surveillance technology in to confront criminal activity

A United Nations investigator says the rise of the private surveillance industry and the targeting of individuals by digital surveillance technology is undermining freedom of expression and putting the lives of many individuals at risk.  The U.N. special rapporteur on freedom of opinion and expression, David Kaye, submitted his report to the U.N. Human Rights Council on Wednesday.

U.N. investigator David Kaye does not condemn all surveillance activities.  He recognizes that governments may have a valid and critical need to use surveillance technology in to confront criminal activity, such as terrorism.

He says governments should be able to acquire and use the technology to protect their citizens.

But he says he finds the transfer of private digital surveillance technology to governments that use it as a tool of repression very worrisome.

UN, Private Surveillance, Freedom
A United Nations investigator says the rise of the private surveillance industry and the targeting. Pixabay

‘We are witnessing a surveillance free for all, in which states and industry are essentially collaborating in the spread of technology that is causing immediate and regular harm to individuals worldwide, often across borders harming individuals and organizations that are essential to democratic life—journalists, defenders, opposition figures, lawyers, and others,” Kaye said.

In his report, Kaye cites numerous examples. In one case, Ethiopia’s government allegedly spied on an Ethiopian-born man in the U.S.  The technology infected his computer with malware marketed by a German and British company.  The program recorded his emails, Internet video calls and keystrokes.  The data was then sent back to servers in Ethiopia.

In another case, Kaye says credible reporting suggests the Chinese government used facial recognition technology and surveillance cameras to look for ethnic Uighurs based on their appearance.  The government reportedly keeps records of their comings and goings for search and review.  He says some of the technology was produced by private Chinese companies.

Kaye says the technologies are spreading globally without control.  He says the private surveillance industry operates in the shadows, developing and marketing the technologies in highly secretive settings.   He notes that trade is driven by a thirst for profits.

Also Read- Facebook’s Libra Fuels Demand of Bitcoin as Investors Look for Safety in Alternative Investments

He warns the failure of states to impose constraints on the export or other transfer of targeted surveillance technology allows the illegitimate, dangerous trade to flourish.

“There is wide recognition that digital surveillance, particularly when conducted in the absence of legal constraint and oversight under cover of secret laws and policies without disclosure of purchase or use, is a threat to freedom of expression,” said Kaye.

Kaye is calling for an immediate moratorium on the global sale, transfer and use of the tools of the private surveillance industry.  He says he is not calling for a permanent ban or an end to all surveillance.

But he says rigorous human rights safeguards must be put in place to assure digital surveillance tools are being used in legitimate ways before business in the technology is allowed to go ahead. (VOA)

STAY CONNECTED

18,959FansLike
362FollowersFollow
1,781FollowersFollow

Most Popular

Richa Chadha Pleased to see Volunteers Working for Elderly Amid Pandemic

Actress Richa Chadha points out senior citizens need extra care and attention amid the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. She recently interacted with volunteers of foundations...

Bhagavad Gita: Here is the Collection of Sanskrit Verses from Dhyana Yoga

The Yoga of Meditation uncovered by Krishna is arranged in sixth Chapter, Dhyana Yoga of Bhagavad Gita. Sri Krishna uncovers the Yoga of Meditation...

Facebook Produces 600 Homes, 70% Reserved for Low-Income Residents

Facebook has produced and preserved approximately 600 affordable homes near its headquarters in Menlo Park, California, of which roughly 70 per cent are reserved...

Google, IBM, Microsoft AI Datasets Show Gender Bias

Revealing another dark side of trained Artificial Intelligence (AI) models, new research has claimed that Google AI datasets identified most women wearing masks as...

This Year Has Been a Wake-Up Call for Us: Bhumi Pednekar

This year has been a wake-up call for us, and if we do not work towards maintaining a balance, our cities will continue to...

Anushka Sharma: Watching Movies Doesn’t Always Help You Understand Them Better

Actress Anushka Sharma says watching films does not always help understand the medium better, and that experiences in life help add value to storytelling,...

Sadhguru: Youth is the Most Alive, Idealistic, and Energetic

Spiritual leader and author Sadhguru believes in the potential of the youth. "Youth has enormous potential. If we can inspire them to identify with humanity...

Increase in Deforestation in Brazilian Amazon Causes Massive Forest Destruction

Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon increased 34.5 per cent between August 2019 and July 2020, with a total of 9,205 square km of forest...

Recent Comments