World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 


US: President Should End Sweeping Surveillance

Stance on Surveillance Reform Will Set Global Precedent

January 16, 2014

(New York) – The US government risks undermining important policy objectives unless it urgently reins in US electronic surveillance practices and stops violating the privacy rights of millions of people at home and abroad, Human Rights Watch said today. In a letter to President Barack Obama ahead of a much-anticipated speech on electronic surveillance that he will give on January 17, 2014, Human Rights Watch set out specific reforms that the president should swiftly adopt.

“This is a signature moment for Obama’s presidency,” said Kenneth Roth, executive director at Human Rights Watch. “He can either reinforce sweeping powers of intrusion that have yielded little advantage in the fight against terrorism but are producing a global backlash against US policies and companies. Or he can stand up to the security agencies and defend the right of ordinary people everywhere to privacy.”

Human Rights Watch enumerated key areas where the president can take immediate action, including ending bulk metadata collection, protecting the rights of foreigners abroad against unnecessary and disproportionate electronic surveillance, increasing the transparency of these surveillance programs, and ceasing US efforts to weaken technical standards.

The US government is uniquely positioned to monitor global communications, with most of the world’s Internet traffic moving through US territory or companies. With this extraordinary power comes heightened responsibility to uphold the internationally recognized right to privacy, which also underpins other important rights, like the right to freedom of expression and opinion. Roughly 150 billion emails crisscross the globe daily, and both commerce and the flow of information depend on a borderless Internet. Other countries will look closely at the rules that the United States establishes on these matters as they debate crucial questions about privacy and Internet freedom across the world, Human Rights Watch said.

“Virtually unchecked US electronic surveillance of foreigners abroad has already provoked outrage around the world,” Roth said. “Unless the president steps in to curb the practice, the US government will have a hard time credibly promoting online freedom.”

Though congressional action is needed to fully address concerns over existing programs, the administration could take initial action and support reform legislation. Many of the reforms that Human Rights Watch called for are also supported by a five-member review group appointed by President Obama, which recently issued a report on US surveillance practices.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

UN: Announces Mission To Combat Ebola

Ebola outbreak: a peacekeeper with the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) wears a protective mask while on duty at UN offices in the capital city of Monrovia. UN Photo/Andrey Tsarkov More>>

Syria: Life-Saving Food Aid In Jeopardy For Millions Of Syrians

18 September 2014 – The United Nations World Food Programme ( WFP ) today warned that it is running out of funds to provide food for almost 6 million Syrians receiving its life-saving assistance. More>>

UN Warns: Hundreds Of Yemeni Families In Need Of Aid

Two displaced girls stand in front of the classroom where their family has been living in Aden, Yemen. Photo: UNHCR/P. Rubio Larrauri More>>

Ukraine: Victim "Tortured By Russian-Sponsored Militants"

GENEVA, September 17, 2014 – Irina Dovgan, a Ukrainian woman who made international headlines after she was publicly abused by Russian-sponsored militants in eastern Ukraine, testified today before the UN Human Rights Council. More>>

Gaza: Detention Conditions Of Palestinians Arrested By Israelis

PCHR Follows up Detention Conditions of Palestinians Arrested by Israeli Forces in Latest Offensive on the Gaza Strip More>>


UN: ‘Heinous’ Murder Of British Aid Worker By Islamic Militants

A wide view of the Security Council in session (file photo). UN Photo/Paulo Filgueiras More>>

ALSO:

UN: Nuclear Programmes Of DPR Korea, Iran Remain Serious Concern

IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano (left) delivers his introductory statement at the Board of Governors Meeting in Vienna, Austria. Photo: IAEA/Dean Calma More>>

Libya: Closer To Brink Of Protracted Conflict And Strife

Special Representative and head of the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) Bernardino Léon. UN Photo/Evan Schneider More>>

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
World
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news