Reconciling Human Rights With Total Surveillance

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Reconciling Human Rights With Ubiquitous Online Surveillance

Max_W writes "Here is the text of Article #12 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights: 'No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.' U.N. human rights chief Navi Pillay said yesterday 'While concerns about national security and criminal activity may justify the exceptional and narrowly-tailored use of surveillance programs, surveillance without adequate safeguards to protect the right to privacy actually risks impacting negatively on the enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms.'

Is it realistic to expect the compliance with this article from the world's major players in the age of large storage disks, fast networks and computers? Or are we entering a new brave world, a new phase of human civilization, where quaint notions of privacy and traditional moral principles are becoming ridiculous? Then what to do with the Article #12? Shall it be 'intentionally left blank'? Shall it be updated to a new wording? What words could they be?" In the U.S. and the EU, government bodies are fond of coming up with domain-specific bills of rights, not so big on publicly striking out the various guarantees.

  • Two way street (Score:5, Interesting)

    by fustakrakich (1673220) writes: on Saturday July 13, 2013 @05:27PM (#44271701) Journal

    They want to make our lives transparent. We have to do the same to theirs. The state must live by the same rules as its subjects.

  • Limitations of technology, not ethics (Score:1)

    by Anonymous Coward writes:

    States have been constrained in their surveillance by technology, not by ethics.

    What reason is there for this to change now?

  • No. (Score:1)

    by Anonymous Coward writes:

    US tortures people, and you expect them to provide basic human rights? We have a long way to do before our government isn't just providing basic rights on a convenience basis.

    Maybe we can aim for some point in the future where maybe there is a chance that basic rights will generally be given to everyone (no exceptions!), but I don't see it happening here anytime soon.

  • Ah, Utopia! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by some old guy (674482) writes: on Saturday July 13, 2013 @05:32PM (#44271725)

    Poor Timothy and Max seem to remain under the illusion that governments, any governments, really rule and act based on their bodies of laws.

    Governments have always, and always will, do as they damned well please till the next revolution. Then guess what? In no time the new boss is the same as the old boss.

    Why? Easy: money. Pure and simple. Just money. Power is a means to acquire and control wealth.

    Universal Declarations and Bills of Rights don't amount to jack diddly fuck if the wrong well-heeled toe gets stepped on.

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  • Ultimately, The Government Makes The Rules (Score:2)

    by rueger (210566) writes:

    Really it's pretty simple. The people who have the power to make the rules, also have the power to ignore that parts they don't like.

    In practical terms your "rights" exist exactly as long as your government wants them to. As long as government has bigger and better guns, more prisons, and runs the judiciary and police, you will have exactly as many "rights" as they find convenient.

    It's remarkably naive to think otherwise, and it has always been the case.

    (Cue the Americans who actually believe th

  • Let's Not (Score:1)

    by Anonymous Coward writes:

    Instead lets purge those paranoid cold war relics and destroy the many spook agencies. Wipe out the black budgets. More privacy, more freedom, and more money for the budget. Nothing but win for society.

  • Inside the 1st Sentence (Score:2)

    by hutsell (1228828) writes:

    No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation.

    Is this really for the people, or is it designed to mostly be used to protect our glorious leaders from constructive criticism

  • only solution: take back the internet (Score:1)

    by Anonymous Coward writes:

    We need to work towards making it technically infeasible to achieve the present level of surveillance. Strong end-to-end encryption needs to be ubiquitous. Real end to end, not via some intermediate web-based key holder. Emails, instant messages, and texts should be encrypted by default, no cleartext ever sent. Ideally, some onion-router way to hide origin and destination from the man in the middle should also be default, but I'm not sure how to make that work.

    We need to make 1984 harder for the fuckers

  • "Shall it be updated to a new wording?" (Score:3)

    by PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) writes: on Saturday July 13, 2013 @05:44PM (#44271781)

    No, just stamp "[deprecated]" on it.

    Why did I have to spend so much time in elementary school learning about The Constitution, when they were just going to deprecate it later on?

    It would also be interesting to hear an new version of The Gettysburg Address, updated to reflect recent events. I'm not convinced that this "Of the people, by the people, for the people" stuff is really quite accurate these days.

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  • The way to slavery (Score:2)

    by gmuslera (3436) writes:

    is paved with exceptions to our rights.

    That the big bully does it means that it is right now? We won't get targetted by drones [] if people from outside US does exactly what they are doing? This is a declaration of war against the world [] (their words, not mine). Whats next? Redoing pre-WWII discourse and taking invading countries where there are americans as something right?

    Privacy are the bricks over what intellectual property is built, one of the things that US push in every international treaty, agreement,

  • A bit of a stretch (Score:2)

    by emt377 (610337) writes:

    Privacy really requires an attempt to keep something private. If you send a letter, the fact that you sent it is obvious to any mail carrier or mail handler. Only the contents are protected. Similarly if you use a third-party MTA you're clearly handing off your correspondence to someone else and it's quite a stretch to imagine it's private. If you do things in public, visible to others, it's not private. Go home, pull down and close the blinds, and you have a right to privacy. Go out and do the same i

  • There is no such thing as human rights (Score:2)

    by vikingpower (768921) writes:

    Proof: one can arbitrarily extend the existing ones with "the right to have blonde hair", "the right to be infertile", "the right to be able to get a PhD but not pursue it", "the right to drive a car". Which drives the whole concept of "human rights" into sheer meaninglessness. Hence: I call bullshit upon TFA. Any concept that can be arbitrarily extended is worthless. There is no such thing as "fundamental freedoms". Any freedom extant is a freedom conquered, gained by struggle or simply taken. There is onl

  • Reconciling Human Rights With Ubiquitous Online Su (Score:2)

    by Stumbles (602007) writes:

    There is none. Rights *always* get trampled.

  • We must choose. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Let's All Be Chinese (2654985) writes: on Saturday July 13, 2013 @06:12PM (#44271949)

    We're full of "universal" rights and whatnot... but fail to live up to them. Or rather, our politicians. The bureaucrats... play their little games. Or not so little, as the case may be.

    If we don't want them to run rampant, we as the world's peoples need to take a stance. Do we want ubiquitous surveillance? Then do nothing. Do we want to have something of a private live left? Well, there's work to do. And some very unpalatable questions to find suitable answers to.

    Our technology is so powerful that "because we can" is no longer a valid reason. We must choose what we want our technology to do. And to choose, we must understand the consequences of what our technology can do, and what it means to willingly forego some or all of the things it might have done. In extreme cases you can even portray this as trading saved lives, caught terrorists, convicted child pornographers, agains having some privacy left.

    And so we must come up with answers to questions like, how many lives is privacy for all worth? How many abducted little girls may be allowed to die for not having to justify every step you take? Because, again, that is how the snoopers will portray it. And so we must answer, or find more reasonable ways to frame the same question. That, or lose the fight before it started. In a sense, we already lost while we were ignorant and we must now claw back what was once rightfully ours. From the jaws of those who claim to protect us (from privacy and liberty, but I digress). How much is it worth to you?

  • More stupid language. (Score:2)

    by macraig (621737) writes:

    Quoth the Declaration:

    ... attacks upon... honour and reputation.

    What exactly is an "attack"? Is it narrowly defined elsewhere in the document in a footnote? Does whistleblowing and every other form of criticism qualify as an "attack upon honour and reputation" since justified criticism would certainly harm the person's reputation at the least? Will some non-judicial bureaucrats now be the ones meting out punishment to anyone who dares to criticize any one or any institution? Ummm... where's the improvement in that?

    This is bullshit. What idiot

  • Safeguards to protect privacy (Score:3)

    by Macman408 (1308925) writes: on Saturday July 13, 2013 @07:41PM (#44272319)

    The UN chief says that appropriate safeguards are needed to protect privacy - well they WERE doing a great job......until Snowden came around.

    Think about it - what better way to protect your privacy than by not even telling you that they're invading it? If neither you nor anybody else in the public knows that your privacy has been violated, then obviously it hasn't been, because it's being kept private!

    Then Edward Snowden came along and ruined the whole thing - simply knowing that our privacy has been violated means that it IS being violated. If it weren't for him, all our data would still be safely kept private (in the hands of the NSA).

  • I'm not seeing any sort of brave new world (Score:2)

    by evanh (627108) writes:

    The question being posed: "Or are we entering a new brave world, a new phase of human civilization, where quaint notions of privacy and traditional moral principles are becoming ridiculous?"

    I then ask why are these supposed secrets of surveillance so sensitive if public knowledge of them is quaint and ridiculous?

    More like a total lack of bravery and just more of the same old race to the bottom ... and I consider myself an optimist!

  • Remember that it does not end with surveillance (Score:2)

    by xiando (770382) writes:

    Western NATO countries like Norway use surveillance as a first initial step against people who say anything which goes against government propaganda. Sabotage is the next and that's usually followed by torture. So keep in mind that surveillance is not the big problem here, they just do surveillance to find out who to target and torture for writing or saying the "wrong thing". Stop the surveillance of everyone and fewer people get tortured. You can debate if surveillance is a human rights violation or not, b

  • But .... (Score:2)

    by n6kuy (172098) writes:

    what you do online isn't private!

  • asylum and whistleblowing (Score:2)

    by stenvar (2789879) writes:

    I think it would be good for the UN to recognize some general exception to extradition treaties for whistle blowing (acts of public disclosure of secret information). It would still remain an individual judgment call for nations whether to aid or grant asylum to whistle blowers, but there would be some recognition that such acts are sometimes justified. It would also reduce some of the hypocrisy coming from some nations, who, on the one hand are trying to score propaganda points by railing against the US, a

  • Yes, it should be updated (Score:2)

    by Hentes (2461350) writes:

    The UDHR is overly generic, contradictory and tries to regulate way too many things. The reason it doesn't get respected because it's impossible to live up to it, or even interpret it. It should be rewritten from scratch, containing only the basic natural rights, specified in a concrete, objective and consistent way.