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The Right to Privacy and the Future of Mass Surveillance.

Watt, E., 2017. The Right to Privacy and the Future of Mass Surveillance. International Journal of Human Rights, 21 (7), 773-799.

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IJHR-'The Right to Privacy and the Future of Mass Sruveillance' REVISED.pdf - Accepted Version
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DOI: 10.1080/13642987.2017.1298091


This article considers the feasibility of the adoption by the Council of Europe member states of a multilateral binding treaty, called the Intelligence Codex, aimed at regulating the working methods of state intelligence agencies. The Codex is the result of deep concerns about mass surveillance practices conducted by the United States’ National Security Agency and the United Kingdom Government Communications Headquarters. The article explores the reasons for such a treaty. To that end, it identifies the discriminatory nature of the United States’ and the United Kingdom’s domestic legislation, pursuant to which foreign cyber surveillance programmes are operated, which reinforces the need to broaden the scope of extraterritorial application of the human rights treaties. Furthermore, it demonstrates that US and UK foreign mass surveillance interferes with the right to privacy of communications and cannot be justified under Article 17 ICCPR and Article 8 ECHR. As mass surveillance seems set to continue unabated, the article supports the calls from the Council of Europe to ban cyber espionage and untargeted cyber surveillance. The response to the proposal of a legally binding Intelligence Codex from the 47 Council of Europe governments has been so far muted, however a soft law option may be a viable way forward.

Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:privacy; cyber surveillance; non-discrimination; Intelligence Codex; soft law
Group:Faculty of Media & Communication
ID Code:30323
Deposited By: Symplectic RT2
Deposited On:06 Feb 2018 16:17
Last Modified:14 Mar 2022 14:09


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