Frequently Asked Questions - Privacy

We each have the right to live private lives, and this privacy is integral to our well-being and security. Neither states nor private entities should intrude on this right, whether through warrant-less surveillance or requiring undue personal information for the use of services. Protection of our privacy also includes the right to use anonymity and encryption software.

UNDHR article 12

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.

ICCPR article 17

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

Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.

As governments all over the world have begun to monitor the online activities of their citizens, the right to privacy has become increasingly important. The ease with which governments can now watch large numbers of people with relatively few resources means that the privacy, and safety, of human rights defenders is at risk.

Privacy and data protection issues are often complex, and it can be difficult to find a common standard. We refer to Privacy International and their work on privacy for further reading, particularly their research on Privacy as a political right.

Privacy rights are closely related to the ability to remain anonymous on the internet. The TOR project offers a popular anonymity service and describes several important privacy issues.

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