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November 26, 2013 | Ed Paton Williams

Necessary and Proportionate: Support the 13 International Principles

In 2013, we learned digital surveillance by governments across the world knows no bounds.


Their national intelligence and investigative agencies capture our phone calls, track our location, peer into our address books, and read our emails. They often do this in secret and without adequate public oversight, violating our human rights.

We won’t stand for this anymore.

Necessary & Proportionate

Over the past year, 300 organisations have come together to support the International Principles on the Application of Human Rights to Communications Surveillance.

Today we're launching a global petition supporting the 13 International Principles alongside a range of international NGOs including Access, Chaos Computer Club, Center for Internet & Society-India, Center for Technology and Society at Fundação Getulio Vargas, Digitale Gesellschaft, Digital Courage, Electronic Frontier Foundation, OpenMedia.ca, Open Rights Group, Fundacion Karisma, Samuelson-Glushko Canadian Internet Policy & Public Interest Clinic, SHARE Foundation and Privacy International.

These thirteen Principles establish the human rights obligations of governments engaged in communications surveillance.

They've been developed over months of consultation between internationally-recognised technology, privacy, and human rights experts.

Can you join people from around the world to lend your name and support to the Principles?

The Principles make clear:

  1. States must recognise that mass surveillance threatens the human right to privacy, freedom of expression, and association, and they must place these Principles at the heart of their communications surveillance legal frameworks.

  2. States must commit to ensuring that advances in technology do not lead to disproportionate increases in the State’s capacity to interfere with the private lives of individuals.

  3. Transparency and rigorous adversarial oversight is needed to ensure changes in surveillance activities benefit from public debate and judicial scrutiny, this includes effective protections for whistleblowers.

  4. Just as modern surveillance transcends borders, so must privacy protections.

We'll deliver the petition to the United Nations, world leaders, and other policymakers who need to hear the voice of the people demanding an end to mass surveillance.

Please support the principles by adding your signature, and encouraging those around you to do the same.

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