UN votes to protect privacy in digital age

Summary:The General Assembly of the United Nations has unanimously passed a resolution that affirms the same rights in the online and offline realms.

The UN General Assembly has unanimously adopted a resolution aimed at protecting the right to privacy against unlawful surveillance in the digital age.

Germany and Brazil introduced the resolution, following a series of reports of US eavesdropping abroad — including on Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff and German Chancellor Angela Merkel — that surprised and angered friends and allies.

The resolution, adopted by consensus on Wednesday, "affirms that the same rights that people have offline must also be protected online, including the right to privacy".

It expresses deep concern at "the negative impact" that unlawful surveillance may have on the exercise and enjoyment of human rights, "in particular when carried out on a mass scale".

General Assembly resolutions are not legally binding, but they do reflect world opinion and carry political weight.

Topics: Privacy, Government, Security

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