Katitza Rodriguez of EFF writes:
This is the fourth in a series of posts mapping global surveillance challenges discussed at EFF’s State Surveillance and Human Rights Camp in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. This article has been co-written with Elonnai Hickok — Centre for Internet and Society India, and a speaker at EFF’s Camp.
States around the world are faced daily with the challenge of protecting their populations from potential and real threats. To detect and respond to them, many governments surveil communication networks, physical movements, and transactional records. Though surveillance by its nature compromises individual privacy, there are exceptional situations where state surveillance is justified. Yet, if state surveillance is unnecessary or overreaching, with weak legal safeguards and a failure to follow due process, it can become disproportionate to the threat—infringing on people’s privacy rights.
Internationally, regulations concerning government surveillance of communications vary in approach and effectiveness, often with very weak or nonexistent legal safeguards. Some countries have strong regulations for the surveillance of communications, yet these regulations may be largely ineffective or unenforceable in practice. Other countries have no legal safeguards or legal standards differing vastly according to the type of communication data targeted. This is why, EFF organized at the end of last year a State Surveillance and Human Rights Camp in Brazil to build upon this discussion and focused on how states are facilitating unnecessary and disproportionate surveillance of communications in ways that lead to privacy violations.
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